Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Japanese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel calculates points as Lewis Hamilton nears title

Japanese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel calculates points as Lewis Hamilton nears title

Sebastian Vettel says he did not want to be a "complete arse" in aggressively defending his position from Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton in the Russian Grand Prix. I still believe in our chances; yes, obviously it's not getting bigger if you finish behind but who knows? "I'd rather be the baddie today".

Hamilton, who will head into Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix holding a 50-point lead over Sebastian Vettel with just 125 remaining, appeared alongside Wolff at Mercedes' headquarters in Brackley on Monday.

Bottas continued to lead only for the former Williams driver, who started this race 110 points behind Hamilton, to be denied his opening win of the year after he was ordered aside.

Hamilton gained an extra seven points meaning he can now afford to finish second at the final races and still claim his fifth world championship.

Bottas, on the other hand, also expressed happiness over the result, and said that it was good for the team as a whole.

With damaged tyres, they were anxious Hamilton could lose second place to Vettel, and having Bottas in between them acted as a buffer to protect Hamilton.

"Suzuka will be another challenging weekend for us", declared Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff, whose team are 53 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors' standings. "We must make sure that from where we are now we focus on winning the last races".

Talking to reporters at the post-race news conference, Vettel said: "I think "well done" to both of them - they played together as a team very well".

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"I go race by race", said Vettel.

"It does not make sense to me", Hamilton admitted. I know we have a great auto, I'm not doubting that.

Lewis Hamilton stood by Mercedes' decision to manufacture his controversial win in Russian Federation that takes him ever closer to a fifth world championship.

"It's honestly the strangest day I can remember having in the sport in my career", said reigning world champion Hamilton.

And with four races to go that becomes a completely different situation.

Team chief Toto Wolff tried his best to console Bottas: "Valtteri this is Toto - a hard day for you, a hard day for us - let's get together and discuss it later", he said. However, the British drivers' eighth victory of the season was a controversial one owing to team orders imposed by Mercedes.

The switch of positions that deprived Valtteri Bottas of a deserved win on the Sochi Autodrom track where he claimed his maiden triumph a year ago left him glum-faced after the race with Hamilton embarrassed at the means by which he was victorious.

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