Vettel needs Suzuka surprise to stay in title race

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Hamilton's win in Sochi was overshadowed by the decision to have teammate Valtteri Bottas pull over to let Hamilton pass. Bottas started from pole and was in position for his first win of 2018 when the decision was made by the team. "I think there were too many races from our side where we weren't close enough".

"Within a week we can not do too many things differently so we hope the track suits us better, and we have a better weekend than in Russian Federation", the German said.

"Sorry, I don't think it is true".

Sebastian Vettel says that Ferrari never had the dominant auto after falling 50 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 championship standings ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Bottas claimed the final race of last season in Abu Dhabi, the third win of his career. How, with 125 points still to play for, has this happened to the German driver and his team which have had a superior auto for most of the season?

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"It didn't happen that time so I did it next time but that manoeuvre he did didn't make me more aggressive to then fight the next corner".

Vettel, meanwhile, insists he will not spoil his Japanese Grand Prix weekend by reflecting on Hamilton's dominant streak.

"I don't like anything more than winning races and fighting for the championship, that's what I want to do and that will still be my ultimate goal for every weekend, and I'm hoping that will still happen".

"I'm definitively still allowed to win but it will all depend on the situation", he shrugged.

"The way they will do that is that they will stop one vehicle, which means that I will have to stop".

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"I am definitely split, just like all people have split opinions about it", added the Briton.

With Bottas in first place and Hamilton in behind, Toto Wolff ordered the swap of the positions due to the fear that Sebastian Vettel could catch up to Hamilton and not lose as many points in the driver rankings.

The bottom line is, for the sake of making one individual driver feel all nice and cosy, you could run the risk at this stage of the season of not winning the drivers' championship.

The Ferrari driver said: "I don't like the now or never approach, I don't think there's much sense in that. I love this track, it is my favourite in the world, so I better enjoy it rather than count things that are possibly against me".

Ferrari have enjoyed the superior machinery over Mercedes for much of the campaign, but the Italian team were a distant second to their rivals in Russian Federation last weekend.

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"Frank Williams told me: "You're one individual that I pay to drive the auto". You never know where you are in comparison to the others, but I'm pretty sure by speaking to all our engineers that we are where we wanted to be.