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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Lewis Hamilton should close in on fifth world title at Suzuka

Teammate Valtteri Bottas can prove best of the rest in Japan

Lewis Hamilton receives the winner's trophy from Vladimir Putin as Valtteri Bottas looks on
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Japanese Grand Prix
Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1, 6.10am Sunday

Lewis Hamilton is closing in on his fifth world title after a comical blunder by Ferrari in qualifying made claiming his 80th career pole much easier.

Hamilton is 4-11 to win in Suzuka and he will start with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas alongside him as his wingman after championship rival Sebastian Vettel's Q3 meltdown.

Trailing Hamilton by 50 points with five races left, Vettel went out for his first run in Q3 on wet tyres when the track was too dry. He then pitted for slick tyres only to find it was raining much more heavily and the track was too wet. He qualified ninth but will start eighth following a penalty given to Esteban Ocon.

Vettel is a 10-1 chance but needs a helping hand, perhaps from more rain - although there is only a 30 per cent chance of that - to get anywhere near Hamilton in the race.

The Mercedes dual forecast is 8-11 but a safer bet along the same lines is to back Bottas at a slightly shorter 4-6 in bet365's without Hamilton market, which only needs his car to complete the course rather than both Silver Arrows.

Bottas was a solid second to Hamilton in both of Friday's practice sessions, and third, first and second in the three sections of qualifying. 

He would have strong claims to be best of the rest even if Vettel was in a representative starting position. 

V Bottas without L Hamilton
2pts 4-6 bet365

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Bottas was a solid second to Hamilton in both Friday practices and third, first and second in the three sections of qualifying
E.W. Terms
Sky bet