Big day for Bottas, Mercedes at Japanese Grand Prix

Bottas picked up his third win of the season and first since Azerbaijan in April to close the gap on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' standings but the latter still holds a hefty 64-point advantage with only four races remaining as he bids for a fifth individual title in six years. READ: 'You can't force things': Nico Hulkenberg relaxed with job uncertaintyREAD: Vietnam Grand Prix organizers made to feel like part of Formula One 'family'READ: Singapore Grand Prix: Humidity meets hedonism during Asia's most punishing raceMercedes matched Ferrari's constructors' winning streak from 1999-2004 during the days of Michael Schumacher but with Hamilton or Bottas now the only two racers who can win the drivers' title, is assured of a sixth straight double to pass the legendary Italian team. "I had a really nice start and Sebastian had an issue so I got the lead and the pace was super good," Bottas, who finished more than 13 seconds ahead of Vettel, told reporters. "I enjoyed it and had fun."I'm really proud to be part of the team, sixth title in a row is so impressive and proud of every team member here at the race. Well done, guys and girls."It all could have been so different for Vettel had he hung on to his spot at the front of the queue as Ferrari grabbed a fifth straight pole. The German won qualifying earlier Sunday in sunny skies ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc and Bottas — all race activities were canceled Saturday due to the impending arrival of Hagibis — on the Suzuka track he enjoys racing on. He'd won in Japan four times previously. Ultimately, Vettel had to hang on to finish second, a mere 0.4 seconds faster than Hamilton. The top three all employed a two-stop strategy, with Hamilton the last to take his second stop on lap 43 of the scheduled 53. "I lost the momentum," said Vettel. "It was a really poor start. With the lack of pace, second is probably the maximum but I'm not happy with the very first start of the race. To get pole and second is a reasonable day." Leclerc finished sixth despite colliding with Red Bull's Read More – Source