Lewis Hamilton secured a third successive win to open up his championship lead at an incident-filled Japanese Grand Prix.

The leader did not take the chequered flag as the race was red-flagged for a second time in the afternoon following two separate crashes on the same corner.

Hamilton had started behind pole sitter Nico Rosberg on the grid but passed his Mercedes team-mate and rival to open up a 10-point gap in their battle for the title.

Having already been stopped due to the weather brought on by nearby Typhoon Phanfone, the race was cut short by nine laps as the Marussia of Jules Bianchi went off at the same site as Adrian Sutil's Sauber - which was being recovered by marshals and machinery at the time.

Hamilton had pulled away from Rosberg after managing to find a way past his German rival and remained clear as the race ended prematurely.

Rosberg took second place, with compatriot Sebastian Vettel taking third for Red Bull on the weekend he announced he would be leaving the team ahead of next season.

Daniel Ricciardo will be leading the team in Vettel's absence and he took fourth place ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button.

The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa took sixth and seventh respectively, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez's Force India's both in the points - either side of ninth placed Jean-Eric Vergne, who had started from 19th after an engine change.

All three drivers on the podium sent their wishes to Bianchi, who is undergoing surgery in hospital, with early reports suggesting his Marussia crashed into the digger being utilised to move Sutil's car at turn seven.

And Hamilton admitted the weather had caused issues throughout.

"What a day," he said. "It has been a very difficult weekend and today, with it raining so much. They were very tricky conditions."

The early rain saw the race initially red-flagged after just two laps.

With heavy, intermittent showers caused by the typhoon, the decision was made to start the race behind the safety car, with a short period in the pit lane following before the safety led them away again.

Fernando Alonso did not get very far into the restart as he suffered a electrical fault in his Ferrari after just five corners.

Hamilton was chomping at the bit to get racing, suggesting time and again over the radio that conditions were good enough to see the safety car come in.

But the Briton had to wait until the end of lap nine for the safety car to peel off and let the drivers go - with Button and Pastor Maldonado deciding to pit for intermediate tyres immediately.

The McLaren of Button was quick on his out lap, forcing much of the field to pit and follow suit at the next opportunity with the Briton moving up to third place in the process.

Both Mercedes opted against pitting as their pace was still enough to keep them clear, before Rosberg was the first to blink at the end of lap 14.

Hamilton remained out for a lap longer and ran wide at spoon corner as he looked to bridge the gap to his title rival, having gone quickest in the opening sector.

Vettel pulled off the first meaningful on-track overtake as he eased past the Williams of Massa to take fifth place, with the Brazilian also seeing Vettel's team-mate Ricciardo go through.

The drag-reduction system was enabled on lap 24 and Hamilton was able to finally get onto the back of his team-mate.

Having had a couple of tentative looks at passing Rosberg, Hamilton ran wide at turn one as the pair started lap 26.

But, with Rosberg complaining more than once over his radio about an issue with over-steer, the two Mercedes were soon pretty much line astern.

Hamilton made his move into turn one just three laps prior to his off - running around the outside of Rosberg, who had suffered a twitch at the start of the pit straight.

Ricciardo took the lead as Hamilton stopped as the Australian had yet to make a stop for a second set of intermediates but, despite rain beginning to fall again in the pit lane, the drop-off of his time forced him in.

The trio of Vettel, Button and Ricciardo were all in the battle for third and closed to within four seconds of one another as Vettel took a trip over the grass at turn five.

Ricciardo and Button were soon squabbling over fourth, with the Red Bull eventually able to get past despite the heavier rain seeing the DRS disabled.

Shortly afterwards, the Sauber of Sutil had hit the wall at turn eight after aquaplaning off the track and a second red flag was needed as Bianchi went off in the same place as Sutil's car was still being moved clear by the marshals.

That saw the race come to an end, with all of the cars returning to the pits behind the safety car once more.

The second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat was classified as the first of the non-points scorers in 11th, with the sole remaining Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen behind him.

Esteban Gutierrez took 13th for Sauber with McLaren's Kevin Magnussen 14th ahead of the Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Maldonado.

Marcus Ericsson finished 17th, with his Caterham team-mate and fan favourite Kamui Kobayashi 19th and Max Chilton (Marussia) sandwiched in-between.