He increased his championship lead over Vettel to 59 points with just four season races left as a spark plug failure led to the latest Ferrari setback.
With track temperatures in excess of 40 degrees centigrade providing a marked contrast to the much cooler conditions earlier in the weekend, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix from pole, using a one-stop supersoft-soft strategy. He was quick to praise the team for the part they played in his securing his 71st career pole position, his first around the Suzuka...
Bottas also scored the fastest lap of the race, making it the 150th fastest lap for Mercedes-Benz power.
Sainz managed to get out of the gravel trap but the car was damaged enough to warrant for a retirement. His best in Q1 had been 1m 29.047s.
His overtaking moves have also drawn criticism from some established stars but, already the sport's youngest winner, he has an admirer in Hamilton.
For Verstappen who drove a phenomenal race from start to finish, a final attempt to overtake Hamilton was thwarted by McLaren's Fernando Alonso, who blocked him while the blue flags were being waved.
Hamilton, though, was not about to take his fourth driver's championship for granted.
The virtual safety car was deployed when Marcus Ericsson went off at Degner 2 on lap eight putting his car in the wall and on the restart three laps later Ricciardo claimed third place from Ocon on the run down the hill into turn one.
"So a big thank you to everyone back at the factory you do an amazing job and I hope I'm making you proud".
"Honestly, I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap", Hamilton said on the podium. In 10 years, this is my first pole here.
Today's result marks the tenth victory for the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows of the 2017 season.
So how did that happen, and why hadn't it happened before?
"I think more corners are flat-out this year and a lot faster so it becomes more of a straight, so it's a bit more painful for us", said the 20-year-old Dutch driver. He was forced to pit after that incident and ended up retiring.
"Sebastian has been incredibly unfortunate", said the Briton, "There's still a long way to go". But he'll be fighting tooth and nail tomorrow.
"I don't know. He won't be any more aggressive than I am", he said. So far this year it's been very close. It's great to have a beautiful day here. And Lewis as well.
"I closed up (on Hamilton), but when you get really close you lose a lot of downforce so I could not really attack him".
"Definitely, definitely", Hamilton laughed.