Suzuka, Japan (SportsNetwork.com) - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the Formula One world championship point standings by winning Sunday's rain-soaked and shortened Japanese Grand Prix.
The race was stopped nine laps short of its scheduled 53-lap distance after Marussia's Jules Bianchi was involved in a serious accident. Prior to Bianchi's wreck, Adrian Sutil from Sauber had slid off course and slammed hard into the barrier in turn 7. Bianchi, a 25-year-old Frenchman, went off course at the same turn and collided into a recovery vehicle that was removing Sutil's car from the crash site.
According to the FIA, the governing body of F1, Bianchi was unconscious when he was transported to a local hospital by ambulance. He could not be airlifted due to poor weather conditions.
Sutil was not injured during the incident.
"It was the same thing that happened to me. Jules came around and had the same spin there," Sutil said. "The rain was increasing and daylight was going down. I was following Jules. I spun and ended up in the wall. I stood up and left the car, and they (race marshals) tried to remove my car. Jules was in the same area and lost the car. I have no more information. We are all aware of the situation, and hopefully, he is in good hands."
Hamilton was leading the way when the safety car was deployed for Sutil and Bianchi's accidents as well as wet weather conditions. The race started under the safety car due to heavy rain associated with Typhoon Phanfone, which is poised to hit the area late Sunday night.
The first nine laps were run under the safety car, but weather conditions had improved, allowing for the race to run on lap 10. Nico Rosberg, who is Hamilton's teammate and championship rival, started on pole.
On lap 29, Hamilton moved around Rosberg in turn 1 and then overtook him for the lead. Hamilton took command from there, as he scored his eighth win of the season, including his third victory in a row. He won in Italy and Singapore prior to Japan.
"What a day," Hamilton said. "It's been a very difficult weekend. With it raining so much today, it was very tricky conditions. We hope that Bianchi is OK."
It's the second time Hamilton won the Japanese GP but his first at Suzuka Circuit. He scored a victory in this event during his 2007 F1 rookie season, but that race was contested at Fuji Speedway.
With the win, Hamilton increased his lead from three points to 10 over Rosberg. There are four races remaining. F1 will be in Sochi, Russia next weekend for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix. After Russia, F1 moves on to Austin, Texas and then Brazil before the season concludes in Abu Dhabi.
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, the four-time F1 world champion, finished third after winning the Japanese GP in four of the last five years, including victories in 2012 and '13.
On Saturday, prior to qualifying, Vettel and Red Bull both confirmed that Vettel will be leaving the team at the end of the 2014 season. He is expected to join Ferrari for next year.
Vettel's teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, finished fourth, while McLaren's Jenson Button took the fifth spot. Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were sixth and seventh, respectively.
Nico Hulkenberg from Force India, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne and Hulkenberg's teammate, Sergio Perez, completed the top-10.
Fernando Alonso from Ferrari retired on lap 3 when he experienced an electrical problem and came to a stop on the track. Alonso's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, placed 12th.