Max Verstappen: Lewis Hamilton too fast to overhaul

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Vettel, who sits in second place just behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in the F1 drivers' championship, quickly lost position after slowing on track and was ultimately called in by his team.

LEWIS Hamilton insists it is beyond belief that he finds himself closing in on a fourth world title after his victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.

With Lewis Hamilton leading the race at the time of this writing and looking as if he'll surely extend his championship lead, this race is Vettel's worst nightmare come to life.

Vettel suffered a spark plug problem that proved terminal and it followed a sequence of races in which the championship has swung firmly in Hamilton's favour.

It became apparent on the grid, where there was fevered activity around Vettel's vehicle. "There are still 100 points available", he told Sky Sports. 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. I think we are improving race by race - we've got a lot further than people thought. It is obviously a pity the last two races with the reliability issues, but you know, it's like that sometimes.

"It is very much approached, conceded Hamilton".

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Verstappen pitted from second place on lap 22 and switched into softs, and Hamilton did the same on the following lap taking softs as well. I just have to keep my head down and keep doing what I've been doing.

"I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap". "Ferrari has put on such a great challenge all year long". My team have done a great job. They've done a phenomenal job, reliability has really been on point.

Valtteri Bottas, who had started sixth due to a grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change, fought through to finish fourth for Mercedes. Felipe Massa rounded off the points finishers, staving off Alonso to the finish. The Spaniard recovered well from the back of the grid following an engine penalty.

Another fantastic performance from Pierre Gasly in just his second Grand Prix drive - finishing 13th.

Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo was third. That's the US Grand Prix, which will be held in Austin, Texas after two weeks. It has been a changeling frame for Ferrari in Asia this season, with issues in Singapore and Malaysia prior to this race at Honda's Suzuka circuit. "There's also some positives but for sure now we don't look at positives because it is not a day to look at positives".