Analysis: How Verstappen assumed Vettel's mantle in Suzuka

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Analysis: How Verstappen assumed Vettel's mantle in Suzuka
Adam Cooper
By: Adam Cooper
Oct 9, 2017, 9:50 AM

It wasn't so long ago that Sebastian Vettel was leading the Formula 1 world championship, and it seemed likely that his battle with Lewis Hamilton would go all the way to Abu Dhabi.

 Max Verstappen, Red Bull, second place, James Vowles, Chief Strategist, Mercedes AMG F1, Race winner Third place Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, on the podium
 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Felipe Massa, Williams FW40
 Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 with his team
 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08

Then the pendulum of fortune began to swing dramatically against him in Singapore and Malaysia, and another disastrous weekend for the Ferrari driver in Japan further tipped the balance in the favour of his rival.

Indeed, Hamilton can now win the title in Austin, with three races still to run. 

Once again at Suzuka, we had the prospect of a superb six-car battle at the front of the field as Red Bull showed impressive pace and joined the mix with the two title protagonists. And once again, it all fell apart.

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