Lewis Hamilton makes Japanese GP claim after Esteban Ocon fight

Sir Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in Japan last weekend.

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Esteban Ocon had a fierce, lengthy battle at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Ocon qualified an exceptional fifth ahead of the seven-time champion, who had to fend off the other Alpine of Fernando Alonso on a wet first lap.

Their battle was cut short when Carlos Sainz’s crash caused a red flag, and after a long delay, the drivers eventually got going again through a rolling start.

Having set off on extreme Wets, Sebastian Vettel and Nicholas Latifi quickly realised that the track was drying significantly, so they opted to switch back onto the Intermediates.

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They gained time instantly, prompting everyone else to follow suit, and Hamilton re-joined still behind Ocon.

They both made their way past Mick Schumacher, who had stayed out on Wets in the hope that the conditions would come back to him, and they ended up fourth and fifth.

On more than one occasion, Hamilton got a superb exit out of Spoon, but as they headed through towards 130R, the Renault-powered Alpine pulled away from the draggy Mercedes.

The Frenchman held on after several laps of pressure from the 37-year-old who, despite having to settle for P5, thoroughly enjoyed his afternoon.

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“I had a lot of fun,” Hamilton told Motorsport.com.

“He did a great job staying on track and staying ahead, obviously he was very quick on the straights.

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“I was trying everything but I think we had the most fun, I don’t know how other people had it.”

Max Verstappen dominated the race to take victory ahead of Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc, who was given a late penalty for cutting the chicane on the final lap.

The Dutchman wrapped up his second world title as a result, and Hamilton headed over to him in the media pen after the race to congratulate his rival.