Mercedes came to Japan looking to clinch its third consecutive constructors championship. Nico Rosberg held a 23-point lead on his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg started on pole, followed by Hamilton. The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo occupied Row 2.
Verstappen passed Hamilton for second at the start. Sergio Perez (Force India) took third from him in the first corner. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) passed Perez for P3 during Lap 3. Rosberg held a 5.7-sec lead on Verstappen during Lap 10 (of 53). Verstappen pitted the following lap. Rosberg came in from the point in Lap 13, returning to the track with the lead intact.
Verstappen made his second (and final planned) stop during Lap 29. Rosberg did the same one lap later. Vettel and Hamilton ran 1-2 on track, pending second stops for each. They pitted in Lap 34 and 35 respectively, Hamilton emerging in P3 behind Verstappen. Rosberg’s lead on the Dutchman was 5.5 sec during Lap 37.
The final Top 3 were Rosberg, Verstappen, and Hamilton, clinching the constructors title for Mercedes.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 313
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 280
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – 212
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari –170
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 165
Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Red Bull – 165
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 81
Sergio Perez (Mexico), Force India-Mercedes – 80
Nico Hulkenberg (Germany), Force India-Mercedes – 54
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 43
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 593
Red Bull Racing (Ricciardo, Verstappen) – 385
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 335
Force India-Mercedes (Hulkenberg, Perez) – 134
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Bottas) – 124
McLaren-Honda (Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button) – 62
Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Carlos Sainz Jr., Daniil Kvyat) – 47
Haas-Ferrari (Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez) – 28
Renault (Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer) – 8
MRT-Mercedes (Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon) – 1
Next event: United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Oct. 21-23, 2016