Vettel unlikely to win 2017 title says Mass

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

Hamilton also thinks his Mercedes auto performs very differently at every track and that is why Red Bull and Ferrari have been strong in recent weeks.

It seemingly left the door open for Hamilton to inflict maximum damage on his rival, but the Mercedes team and championship leader suffered a humiliating defeat to Red Bull's Max Verstappen who turned a stunning pace which relegated Hamilton to second and without any possible chance of victory. "Benefiting from Ferrari's problems shouldn't hide that they have (been quicker) this race". They had brought aerodynamic upgrades to Sepang which did not improve performance and contributed to the difficulty they had with balance, set-up and grip.

If Hamilton can keep his consistency up, the Brit can equal Raikkonen's record at the second grand prix of next season, set to be the Bahrain Grand Prix, and he can snatch the Finn's record at the following race in China.

He added: "Our situation is clear: we are taking it race by race but our goal is to win every one". The thing that happened in Singapore, I don't think you can take much action. "I need to have a good look in the mirror again".

"We know how important that race is for the team".

He had been passed by Verstappen for the lead on lap four and insisted that given his pace he was pleased with his race. "The long game approach I took, I believe, is the right one. In simple words, there is a lot more work ahead of us if we want to come out on top by Abu Dhabi".

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Hamilton said he and the team were still split on which direction to take at Suzuka.

But Toto Wolff had little time for sympathy for his counterpart, cutting a dejected figure after the checkered flag on Sunday. "Lewis extracted the maximum in qualifying, benefitting from cooler temperatures and on one lap he is a real force", he said. The race was very hot. I was very happy when I crossed the line and, together with my dad, I got this far.

Formula One's last Malaysian Grand Prix-for now-was an oddly intense one.

While the Finnish driver was involved in the blast off the starting grid crash with Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel, which ruled all three out of the race, Raikkonen has been hit with a double dose of pain after picking up an engine issue on his way to the grid in Malaysia.

Still, having trailed Vettel by 14 points four races ago, he heads to the Japanese GP with cause for optimism.

He said: "I'm not comfortable at all". "There are areas where other cars have done a better job, or we've done lesser of a job, but it's been a fantastic year of performance as a team". And you'd also be trying to figure out the engine/turbocharger problems that afflicted your man in qualifying and made him start from the back of the grid. "I hope not because it was completely unnecessary".

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