Lewis Hamilton says he could only have dreamed of opening up such a sizeable lead in the Formula One championship after capitalising on Sebastian Vettel's woe to win a pulsating Japanese Grand Prix.
The Briton converted pole into an eighth victory of a campaign that has dramatically swung in his favour in recent races to open up a 59-point advantage over Ferrari rival Vettel.
It was a desperately disappointing day for the German, who retired after just four laps with an engine problem, as Hamilton held off a great fight from Max Verstappen to take the chequered flag at Suzuka.
Victory means the Mercedes man can clinch a fourth world title with victory in the United States Grand Prix if he wins and Vettel places lower than fifth and it is a position Hamilton did not foresee.
"Honestly, I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap. The Ferraris have put on such a great challenge all year long but I have to put it down to my team," an elated Hamilton said.
"They've done a phenomenal job, reliability has been on point. They're just so meticulous and that's really why we're having the reliability and results we're having."
Verstappen was rarely more than three seconds adrift of Hamilton and, when the Briton complained of vibrating tyres in the closing laps, that gap was cut to just over a second.
"Max drove an outstanding race and honestly it wasn't an easy one for us at all," Hamilton added.
"The Red Bulls just seem to be rapid in the race trim. Obviously, we're quick in qualifying but it got very close at the end with the VSC [virtual safety car] and the restart. The tyres were cold and had a bit of traffic and he caught right up, so it was very close."
Verstappen beat Hamilton at the previous grand prix in Malaysia and reflected on another fine outing in the Red Bull.
"It was a great day again. Suzuka is really great to me, I loved the track last year. The pace today was really promising," he said.
"The first stint on the supersoft I was struggling a bit with the left-front but as soon as we switched to the soft tyre it was very competitive and I was always with Lewis, especially in the last few laps.
"We had great pace it's just really hard to pass. I gave it my all to try and close the gap but the car is really improving race by race so I'm really happy about that."
19 de julio 2018
|Roosters sign England international Hall|
|Ovechkin, Kim earn major honours at ESPY Awards|
|Owens not ´actively seeking´ to play in NFL again|
|Argentina need Messi – Tevez urges Lionel not to retire|
|Minnesota United 2 New England Revolution 1: Ramirez, Quintero sink stuttering visitors|
|Shaw: I want to be first name on Man United teamsheet|
|Manny Machado dealt to Dodgers|
|Pjanic hails Ronaldo arrival but refuses to confirm Juve future|
|Perotti: Roma can cope without Liverpool-bound Alisson|
|Klopp hopes Liverpool building towards title tilt|
|Karlovic exits as four seeds bow out in Newport|
|Angels clap back at Manfred´s marketing comments on Trout|
|Titans DL Casey will still protest despite new anthem policy|
|Popovich on Leonard trade: It´s time to move on|
18 de julio 2018
|Zola returns to Chelsea as Sarri´s assistant|
|Anthony Joshua targets ´dream´ fight in Texas|
|Celtic 3 Alashkert 0 (6-0 agg): Dembele hits brace before injury worry|
|Schwartzman stumbles but Spanish duo reach last eight at Swedish Open|
|Top seeds progress in Bucharest as Larsson conquers Kung|
|Perez promises ´incredible´ signings at Real Madrid|
|Liverpool need a top goalkeeper - Souness|
|It was just an absolute car crash - Root regrets bat-drop celebration|
|Mourinho´s pre-season fears mount with Sanchez sidelined|
|Alisson thanks Roma fans ahead of rumoured Liverpool switch|
|Pogba must understand his World Cup heroics, says Mourinho|
|Odriozola excited by Lopetegui reunion at Real Madrid|
|Revis announces retirement from NFL after 11 seasons|
|The Open 2018 diary: Rahm´s saving Grace, Rory´s going grey|
|Kawhi Leonard traded to Raptors as DeMar DeRozan heads to Spurs|
|Cantona, Rosberg and other surprise retirements after Warburton hangs up his boots|
|No doubting Thomas as he climbs into yellow with stage win|
|Liverpool´s Oxlade-Chamberlain to miss ´vast majority´ of 2018-19|
|Open Championship by far the greatest - Player|
|Sarri wants new central midfielder and hints at Chelsea stay for Cahill|
|Nantes sign former Manchester United full-back Fabio|
|Marcelino rewarded with one-year Valencia extension|
|Warburton retires: Bale leads social media tributes to Welsh great|
|Mistakes do not define me, says Chelsea boss Sarri|
|Saints and Tigers to honour Horne with Twickenham clash|
|I want to keep Hazard, says Sarri|
|Europe must stop American juggernaut at Carnoustie|
|Joshua planning for heavyweight ´legacy´ – starting with Povetkin|
|Warburton retires: Wales and Lions star´s career in numbers|
|Matching ´ridiculous´ Tiger not on McIlroy´s radar|
|Spain sent me World Cup SOS, claims Benitez|
|Ozil, Gundogan critics should ´shut up´ - Klopp|
|McIlroy plans to play carefree at Carnoustie|
|Pakistan thrash Zimbabwe to secure series win|
|Warburton retires: Gatland salutes Wales and Lions great|
|Sturridge determined to stay at Liverpool|
|Mbappe is an alien – Varane|
|Warburton retires from rugby|
|India to assess Bhuvneshwar as Bumrah makes Test squad|
|Injured Craddock passes $100,000 in donations at Tour de France|
|WATCH: Perez taunts team-mate after audacious training goal|
|Alison Becker tweets ´I´m joining Liverpool´... but all is not as it seems|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton chasing down Schumacher - German GP in numbers|
|Notorious Carnoustie holds fond memories for legendary Watson|
|Rooney refused to be ´dead weight´ at Everton|
|The Open 2018: Molinari, Rahm and the in-form contenders at Carnoustie|
|Marsh interested in Australia leadership roles|
|United can challenge City for Premier League title, says Rooney|
|MLB All-Star 2018: Seven things you missed at Midsummer Classic|
|American League win home run-filled MLB All-Star game|
|Dragons lure Sims from Broncos|
|Cassano: Ronaldo like Nadal, Messi like Federer|
|Lakers´ Ball undergoes successful knee surgery|
|´We kill them, Messi or no Messi´ - Pogba´s pre-Argentina World Cup speech revealed|
|Cardinals suspend GM Keim for five weeks after DUI|
|Dalic: I can coach Brazil or Barca but Croatia my favourite|