After dismal performance at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend, Mercedes were in a stunning form in Suzuka, Japan, as Lewis Hamilton won and Nico Rosberg finished second. The Brit has now equaled his hero Ayrton Senna’s record 41 career victories. He has a 48-point lead in the championship and it looks he would secure his hat-trick of the title wins.

Hamilton qualified behind Rosberg but catapulted, once the race started, and battled his team-mate for the lead position right away, by passing him on the inside on the first lap. Some may argue that this was too pushy, as the German slipped off the track, but worked hard to later recover his position and finish second.

This was Rosberg’s chance of catching the champion, which is now fading away, although there are still five Grands Prix remaining with 125 points available. Nevertheless, this was an important boost for the German in his ambition for second in the championship, as his advantage over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel now extends to 11 points.

Vettel kept the pressure on his compatriot throughout the race, but was unable to seriously threaten his second place and finished third, ahead of his team – mate Kimi Raikkonen. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was in fifth with Nico Hulkenberg of Force India in sixth, ahead of the two Lotus and two Toro Rosso’s drivers.

But Suzuka was the same old story for the struggling McLaren-Honda’s drivers, Fernando Alonso and Jeson Button, who retired after the first lap and finished 11th and 16th respectively.

The team put a brave fight throughout the race against cars with more powerful engines; both drivers expressed a lot of frustration with a power deficit, as they have struggled to score points. There are speculations that the 34 year-old Alonso, a double World Champion, may leave McLaren next season, despite only being in the first year of a three-year contract worth $40m a year. There are also rumors that Button will be calling a day at the end of the season.

The next F1 race will be in Sochi, Russia, from 9-11 October.