Japan was the stage for another championship twist that saw Sebastian Vettel’s recent suffering continue and his championship hopes evaporate further as he was forced to retire with yet more engine problems while championship leader Lewis Hamilton scored another win to raise his tally to eight wins this year.
Suzuka also witnessed a new double podium for Red Bull. But who got their names on the winners’ board and who leaves Japan hoping to leave all the memories behind?
Who else can it be after another perfect weekend for the triple world champion who seems to be heading to collect his fourth championship? The Mercedes driver extending his lead to 59 points with four rounds to spare and completed a full set having now claimed pole at every circuit on the calendar, making it 71 in total.
The Briton maintained the lead through Turn 1 first and held off a game Max Verstappen to take an eighth win this season and fourth in five races with very little now appearing to stay in his way.
It seems that the collision at the start in Singapore signalled a swap in luck between Ferrari and Verstappen as, since that race, Ferrari have failed to get on the podium while the young Dutchman took his second in a week.
The move on Vettel on Lap 1 was vintage Verstappen and from there the 20-year-old kept Hamilton under pressure pretty much throughout and was quite unlucky not to get a better chance of challenging for the win in the closing laps.
Still, a second place to add to his victory from Malaysia on his birthday weekend has been quite the start to the Red Bull driver's third decade on planet Earth.
Ricciardo backed up Red Bull's recent renaissance as he added a ninth podium to his tally for 2017 at Suzuka. The Australian has been able to deliver consistent results this season in a weaker Red Bull, compared to Mercedes and Ferrari and although a bad start saw him drop behind Esteban Ocon, a nice move on the Force India and a strong end to keep Valtteri Bottas behind late on enabled him to finish third for the second weekend in a row.
Another superb drive from Ocon as the Frenchman secured the ‘best of the rest’ finish once again to make it 15 points results in 16 races. No one could have expected the consistency Ocon would manage this season and Suzuka was another proof of his capabilities, even if his teammate Sergio Perez was held back by Force India for much of the race.
An impressive start saw him climb up to third and run well in that position but he was not able to defend against the faster Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari behind as Ricciardo, Bottas and Raikkonen eventually made their way through. Nevertheless, Ocon will have surely enjoyed his sixth position.
Much like Hamilton as the biggest winner, no one could expect another name here. While the Asian rounds used to be Vettel’s good luck charm in previous championship successes, they have become a nightmare in 2017.
This time a faulty spark plug on his engine meant that Vettel’s drive will last no longer than five laps. It seems that what could go wrong has gone for the four-time world champion as he has tried to maintain the battle to Mercedes since Singapore and this retirement could well mean his hopes have been shattered no matter what positive spin the 30-year-old tries to put on it.
The Spaniard had an amazing journey with Toro Rosso, particularly since emerging from Verstappen's shadow mid-way through last year but, ahead of his impromptu move to Renault from Austin, his final race was disappointing.
A farewell that lasted just a few corners before Sainz lost the car out wide in the Esses and head straight to the barriers. Far from the goodbye the 22-year-old was hoping for but surely hope his Renault journey will be better than his last Grand Prix for Toro Rosso.
Is he even allowed to enjoy a good race? It seems that whenever the German is having a good run something will appear and ruin it. Bad strategies, mechanical problems and other circumstances but this time a broken DRS was the culprit which cost Hulkenberg a chance of points.
German GP: Vettel beats Bottas to home p
Marchionne likely to step down as Ferrar
Alonso to consider McLaren future during
Red Bull expect Ricciardo deal to be a f
German GP: Leclerc leads rain-hit Practi
Stroll 'wants to do what's best' for his
Webber: Vettel still susceptible to Baku
Verstappen: Red Bull pace better than ex
Hamilton admits tyres the main focus aft
German GP: Verstappen gives Red Bull Fri
Red Bull: Honda partnership has more pot
Magnussen: Alonso radio theatrics akin t
Vettel plays down "human" Hamilton react
F1 set to overhaul in tyre design as par
FIA confirm 20-place grid penalty for Ri
German GP: Ricciardo pips Hamilton in Pr
After Hamilton, Bottas is now confirmed
Vettel sees "no rush" in promoting Lecle
Hamilton reveals rival team interest, ex
Hamilton & Mercedes confirm two-year con
Red Bull will not write off Toro Rosso's
Giovinazzi to replace Ericsson for Germa
Ricciardo anticipating grid penalty at t
Kubica: Williams' lack of pace makes not
Red Bull set to use Toro Rosso as test t
Haas & Renault aware of ever-more compet
Ricciardo: Mercedes still the 'toughest'
Pirelli confirm change in tyre naming &
F1 should reduce calendar size and makes
Hockenheim to include third DRS zone for
Bottas performing at required level desp
Alonso "has got to do something else" in
Webber certain Ricciardo will remain at
CEO Brown hoping to open up McLaren's ri
FIA announce move to end F1 mirrors cont
Gasly admits Honda engine holding back T
Hulkenberg names main threat to Renault
Vettel explains low-key profile: I'm a s
Alonso against possible extending of F1
Williams is 'dead' because of daughter C
Austin F1 chief worried Miami race could
Kubica reveals 2012 Ferrari move was agr
Mercedes to shake up technical team, Cos
Daniel Ricciardo explains key factor in
F1 should consider dropping two cars per
Why Mercedes believe current F1 engines
Toro Rosso still in the dark over Hartle
Villeneuve: Raikkonen only got 10-second
Mercedes targeting improved starts over
De Ferran identifies where his focus wil
Abiteboul: Renault would only consider A
Ross Brawn 'sure' of solution to keep Br
Haas will investigate crazy actions of F
Nico Rosberg defends Raikkonen following
Alonso has explanation why McLaren strug
Leclerc excited by Sauber potential desp
Bottas concedes Mercedes tyre gamble fai
Ricciardo baffled by Ferrari's lack of i
Haas F1 boss Steiner admits Grosjean cra
Alonso & Gasly blast quality of stewardi
Lewis Hamilton retracts Ferrari 'tactics
Vettel thrilled to have ended Hamilton's
Max Verstappen frustrated by 'tragic' po
Hamilton & Mercedes skeptical of Ferrari
British GP: Vettel triumphs as Hamilton
Hartley has 'full faith' in Toro Rosso a
Red Bull hoping tyre strategy can bring
Hamilton: Silverstone pole the "toughest
Vettel confident neck problem won't impa
British GP: Hamilton beats Vettel & Raik
British GP: Hamilton pips Raikkonen to l
Hamilton slams "unnecessary" Abbey DRS z
Vettel believes tyres will be key to kil
Hamilton expects to feel the strain arou
Verstappen more concerned by Red Bull pa
British GP: Vettel moves to the front as
Bottas takes on new Mercedes engine as a
Vettel fears Silverstone DRS could incre
McLaren recovery could take "two or ten
British GP: Hamilton sets early pace as
Liberty still have eyes on a London F1 r
Leclerc's performance opening doors for
Ricciardo keen to play the pantomime vil
Alonso denies interference as Brown clai
Hamilton ready for "special" British GP
Verstappen still has F1 title hopes afte
Ferrari has engine advantage, say rivals
Lack of Hamilton announcement the only h
Aston Martin offer bleak update on possi
Boullier resigns as McLaren racing direc
Silverstone gets unique DRS zone for Bri
Mercedes back strategist Vowles but Red
Formula 1 needs drivers like Alonso on t
Horner hails collective Red Bull effort
Raikkonen concedes Ferrari pushed "too l
Grosjean breathes sigh of relief as Haas
Ricciardo keeps chin up on "perfect day"
Alonso reveals Austrian GP points came w
Vettel left wanting more despite "positi
Ecstatic Verstappen reveals the difficul