Media playback is not supported on this device Vettel takes pole with title hopes in grave doubt
World champion Lewis Hamilton took his 20th career win and scored 60 points to cut team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s lead in the championship.
In the longest race of his career, Hamilton dominated both overtaking sessions as Vettel fell from second to seventh.
Hamilton’s victory was his fourth in four years in Doha.
He was fastest in both first qualifying sessions to start with a cushion of 40 points over Vettel.
At around 150mph, Hamilton’s edge was such that the world champion could take the risk of running wide on the restart to the finish in his Mercedes to reduce the gap.
Lewis Hamilton has now gone into next weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi firmly on the front foot, potentially with Vettel’s career on the line if he fails to keep his lead
It paid off when a collision between Vettel and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg on the last lap took the German out of contention.
“Seb has done a fantastic job this year,” Hamilton said. “It’s been close and this year is no different.
“I came here for a win and I really got one. It was such a strategic masterstroke to start driving more aggressively.
“When Nico hit me, I was very, very happy. I pushed to the limit to see if I could get him out.
“I thought it was a team win in terms of morale and all that and then it went the other way.
“I’m just pleased to be able to get it on a day like this when Seb had the day to bounce back from it.”
Hamilton dropped back to fifth, but Vettel responded by pushing the Mercedes harder in the closing stages and held a McLaren driver and Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo as he left Hamilton with an 80-point lead.
That would look impressive but with three races to go in a championship dominated by a pair of German drivers, and Ferrari underperforming compared to Mercedes in the early part of the season, Hamilton’s cushion is a thing of the past.
Vettel cut Hamilton’s lead to 18 points with his fifth consecutive podium finish but may well find it harder to pick up points in Abu Dhabi next weekend than in previous seasons.
Hamilton said: “It was very long; I think if I didn’t have the lead it would have dragged me down. But I’m very happy. I felt it was the best thing to come out here.
“This is a tough place to drive. The pace has been really good and both cars have kept up. It was an awesome race.”
Media playback is not supported on this device Schumacher wins third title in fourth title defence
Frenchman Pierre Gasly, the 23-year-old Toro Rosso rookie, finished third for the second straight race, ahead of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who finished third after taking third in Melbourne.
But Lewis Hamilton proved to be in very fine form as he closed in on Sebastian Vettel’s lead at Doha’s cool desert circuit
By the end of the race, several Red Bull drivers were sitting in third place
The scene for a classic grudge match. This afternoon, there was a classic opener, but both team-mates had done very well to get there first. Great entertainment on a day of treachery and skulduggery
Vettel cuts Hamilton’s advantage to 18 points with another podium finish. However, the chances of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo at Abu Dhabi next weekend winning again are slight
Hamilton starts fourth with Vettel in fifth, the day after pulling his brake fully in Hamilton’s face
Hamilton led at the restart but Marcus Ericsson hit his Ferrari while aiming for sixth place
While Hamilton kept his lead, the safety car went on the run, and Ricciardo had the final chance