Lewis Hamilton's season took another turn for the worse on Sunday, when his poor start in the Japanese Grand Prix saw the reigning Formula 1 world champion drop down to eighth, before recovering to finish third.
His teammate, Nico Rosberg, on the other hand, was imperious from the get-go and streaked away from the chasing pack to build a lead that he never truly looked like relinquishing.
Max Verstappen split the two Mercedes drivers come the chequered flag, with another fine performance (although some of his defensive tactics did seem questionable) and a second-place finish.
Indeed, with Hamilton closing on the final lap, the Brit was forced to miss a chicane and dive down a run-off after the Red Bull of Verstappen appeared to shift in the braking zone as Hamilton closed.
That aside though, Verstappen proved once more why the gamble to promote him from Toro Rosso earlier this year could be yet another Red Bull masterstroke.
However, with just four races until the end of the season, Rosberg appears to now be holding all the cards in the drivers' championship. Following his impressive win in Japan, the German can now afford to finish second in each of the last four races and still be crowned this year's champion.
The pressure is therefore firmly on Hamilton, as he'll be hoping for some of the serious mechanical issues that have dogged his season so far to strike his teammate before the year is out.
It all means that the excitement is likely to go down to the wire, so with a 33-point gap and all to play for between the two title rivals, we can't wait for the action to resume once more at the United States Grand Prix later this month!
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