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.
Vettel would have sought Schumacher advi
Raikkonen never considered retirement fr
Verstappen: Singapore proved Red Bull ha
Hamilton keen to test 2019 Mercedes part
Whiting: Three-car F1 teams 'would work'
Max kicks out Alonso/Red Bull claim as S
New Ferrari CEO 'optimistic' of post-202
Ferrari looking post-Vettel with early L
Williams monitoring Stroll-to-Force Indi
Next Honda upgrade could put them ahead
Newey doubtful of Vettel F1 title hopes,
Sauber to decide Raikkonen's 2019 teamma
Two-way fight for Toro Rosso seat alongs
Prost sure Ricciardo investment by Renau
Ocon got Perez apology but team orders a
Mercedes' Wolff calls for blue flag twea
Vettel 'will always defend' Ferrari desp
Hamilton still wary of Ferrari threat af
Singapore GP: Hamilton extends champions
Hamilton: 'Magic' Singapore pole lap cam
Vettel: Ferrari didn't 'put it together'
Singapore GP: Lewis Hamilton storms to p
Singapore GP: Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 i
Ferrari unimpressed by 'old Champ Car' 2
Vettel confident of making up lost time
Verstappen: Vandoorne never had equal ch
Wehrlein & Mercedes to split at the end
Formula E chief Agag trying to tempt Alo
Ricciardo admits causing Ocon plight as
Singapore GP: Raikkonen sets Practice 2
Singapore GP: Ricciardo leads Red Bull 1
Vettel his own worst enemy as Hamilton p
Vandoorne at a loss over 'strange' McLar
Leclerc doesn't expect to feel extra pre
Gasly: Driver performance should be 'onl
Red Bull not expecting Monaco-style domi
Raikkonen: I'm 'happy with my own reason
First image of concept 2021 F1 car leake
Williams play down concerns over 2019 F1
Ferrari boss apologised to Valtteri Bott
Red Bull boss Horner dismisses 'impracti
Toro Rosso not considering Mick Schumach
Brundle: Raikkonen should have 'moved as
Ocon: My only goal is to be F1 champion
Kubica to weigh up F1 alternatives witho
CEO Brown: Results unlikely to improve w
Mercedes cautious over Singapore GP chan
Ferrari confirm Leclerc alongside Vettel
Confirmed: Leclerc to Ferrari as Kimi re
Ocon would be 'obvious' Toro Rosso optio
Bottas: Failure to win a race in 2018 is
Ferrari swinging back towards Raikkonen
Sainz backs Kvyat amid rumours of 2019 T
2019 McLaren driver Norris concedes Vand
FIA president Todt talks Halo and all-el
Ricciardo desperate to add Singapore win
Haas chief Steiner: Renault only protest
Mercedes boss Wolff responds to Vettel c
Vettel insists he's 'happy' fighting Rai
Kubica concedes F1 comeback effort 'may
Charles Leclerc to Ferrari accidentally
Ecclestone: Hamilton nor Vettel would ac
Alonso hails 'special' first IndyCar tes
Buemi the latest name added to the 'long
Vettel fumes on Raikkonen: I have to rac
Wolff remains 'optimistic' about Ocon as
FIA to address Haas/Ferrari-style 'allia
Hamilton expects F1 would miss Raikkonen
McLaren boss Brown recommends Vandoorne
FIA's Whiting clears Mercedes over use o
Red Bull will leave F1 if Honda fail, Ma
Haas to appeal Grosjean's Italian GP dis
Vandoorne out, Norris in for 2019 at McL
Raikkonen: Mercedes pace meant I couldn'
Bottas: Mercedes strategy was 'good' for
Verstappen furious with stewards after M
Hamilton to Tifosi: Booing 'only a posit
Hamilton & Vettel split over Lap 1 clash
Italian GP: Hamilton passes Raikkonen to
Force India confirm Stroll seat-fitting
Leclerc contract stopping Ferrari from r
Verstappen: 'C-spec' Renault engine 'sti
Magnussen hits back at Alonso: 'He think
Gasly: P9 in Monza qualifying 'a nice su
Perez & Force India accept blame for sho
Stroll surprised by 'straightforward' ru
Hamilton anticipated Ferrari gains in Q3
Alonso: Magnussen incident shows class o
Raikkonen: Monza 'couldn't be a better p
Vettel quiet on Ferrari complaint after
Italian GP: Raikkonen snatches pole, lea
Italian GP: Vettel edges Hamilton in tig
Italian GP: Sebastian Vettel leads as Er
Daniil Kvyat confirmed as possible Toro
German GP to remain in 2019 as Suzuka si
Vandoorne: Australia was McLaren's best
Italian GP: Sergio Perez leads drying Pr
After Red Bull, Alonso claims he also re
Vettel hopes Ferrari revival can save It
Kubica set to be overlooked by Williams