Sebastian Vettel to avoid grid penalty as Ferrari give gearbox all clear

Vettel's disappointment was mirrored in the faces of the Ferrari team in the garage

Vettel's disappointment was mirrored in the faces of the Ferrari team in the garage

"We have a couple of days to try and understand".

Where is the Japanese Grand Prix held and how many laps is it? I love driving on this track over the years.

The race was a great send off.

We came with an upgrade that was meant to be better but we were unsure yesterday as we were so far back, said Hamilton.

But a strong showing at Suzuka would sweep away much of the gloom and doom that has followed the Japanese manufacturer around again this season, and hopefully ring in some optimism for 2018.

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Ferrari have been quicker than Mercedes in the past two races but both their cars crashed out together at the first corner in Singapore and Vettel finished fourth in Malaysia after starting from the back because of an engine problem. This is the first time in the hybrid era. As a driver I'm always challenging them.

We've become used to Mercedes dominating in recent years, seeing Hamilton securing pole positions and race victories, but make no mistake: Saturday was one of those occasions of a driver taking a vehicle beyond what it should have been capable of. The Dutch TV guys went absolutely insane. Somebody sent me some tweets of the various people celebrating across the Netherlands where it's huge news. Verstappen was managing his pace and his tyres; he was in complete control of the entire Grand Prix and it was a really impressive performance. I need the points, I want the points.

"He had a lot of things to learn of course and I think this is the result when you never give up, keep motivated and keep concentrated, and that's what he does".

"The incident in Singapore was very unnecessary and cost Sebastian 25 points", he said.

Mercedes are also optimistic their auto will be more suited to the conditions at Suzuka, where both the cooler weather and track layout should be more favourable for the W08.

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So, too, it seemed were Mercedes themselves with the team attributing the unexpected pole position, secured by less than a tenth of a second over Kimi Raikkonen, to the "Hamilton factor". There was a real chance for Sebastian to pull back points in the championship battle.

The fact that he got to within half a minute of Hamilton at the end shows what could've been.

But Bottas has struggled for form since the summer break and Saturday's deficit was also consistent with a gap of over half a second to Hamilton in every qualifying session since the season resumed in August.

For Mercedes, this was an interesting weekend.

"Things are just coming to light and things that we need to work on, and it's generally in the communication area", he told Sky Sports F1. We know the Pirellis are very sensitive to track temperature, conditions, the amount of rubber on track and the asphalt.

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