Vettel vows to 'protect' Ferrari after Japan woe

No gearbox penalty for Vettel in Japan

No gearbox penalty for Vettel in Japan

Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel had to retire on lap 5 of today's Japanese Grand Prix due to an engine issue.

Despite the best efforts of Ferrari's mechanics, who were seen surrounding Vettel's auto on the grid before the start, Vettel struggled hugely for pace, dropping four places by the end of the first lap.

When the race resumed, Hamilton was suffering from tyre vibration as he tried to deal with lapped traffic, which allowed Verstappen to cut the gap between them.

Hamilton, who started the Japanese grand prix from pole position, can clinch the 2017 title at the U.S. grand prix in Austin later in October.

The German, who had to fight down to the last race before securing his title, expressed disappointment at the latest in a sequence of setbacks for Ferrari's leading contender Sebastian Vettel.

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"He also had received a flashing blue light informing him that race leader Lewis Hamilton was closing on him for over a lap before".

"The track was fantastic and the team did a sensational job, said Hamilton".

"I had a very good start but I made a mistake in the 11th turn, said Stroll".

"I just have to keep my head down and keep doing what I've been doing", Hamilton said.

"It's nearly unbelievable to think we are where we are in the championship", said Hamilton. I'm not really particularly taking insane risks in order to be in the position I'm in. At 59 points, Hamilton would nearly certainly need to suffer a retirement of his own for Vettel to close in on him by season's end, as the four races remaining offer enough points for Vettel to leapfrog Hamilton. Bottas is placed third in the Drivers' title with a total of 234 points and is followed by Daniel Ricciardo (192 points). "Of course it hurts and we're all disappointed but I think now we need to get back, get some rest and go flat-out for the last four races and see what happens". The most a team can score in one race is 43, so even if Ferrari enjoy a one-two in the next three races without Mercedes scoring a single point, they will still be 16 points short of their rivals heading into the final race of the season.

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"We've done an incredible job so far, pity the last two races with reliability issues, but it's like that sometimes".

Hamilton is the only driver to finish in the points at every race this season, winning eight races and finishing on the podium three other times.

"But for sure now you don't look at the positives because it's not the day to look at positives". "I am really happy about that".

But Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa's battle for 10th place would cause havoc for Verstappen as Hamilton slipped by, while the Dutchman was delayed, seeing him drop back unable to make a move for the win.

Force India's Esteban Ocon, who ran as high as third at one stage, was sixth ahead of Mexican teammate Sergio Perez, as the Silverstone-based team came away with another strong haul of points.

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