Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Vettel will discuss clash with Verstappen privately

Vettel will discuss clash with Verstappen privately

The German climbed to fourth in pursuit of Hamilton on Sunday but then made contact with Max Verstappen, with the two drivers blaming one another as Vettel slid back to 19th.

F1's points are awarded to the top ten finishers - 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 - meaning he effectively needs to out-score Vettel by eight points in Austin to secure the championship.

Hamilton, who in Japan on Sunday took his ninth win this year and his sixth in seven races, will clinch the title at the US Grand Prix if he wins on 21 October and Vettel is lower than second.

"I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian", he wrote in a message posted to his Instagram story on Tuesday. "You simply can not imagine how hard it is to do what we do at our level", he wrote on social media.

"I had similar encounters with others and we managed to make it through the corner".

"The championship is a marathon and not a sprint", the Briton said.

Vettel has dropped from leading the title race to trailing Hamilton by 67 points in just seven grands prix, with his rival winning six of those and now on a four-race victory streak.

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Hamilton went on to overhaul Kimi Raikkonen to win the Monza race, then took victory in Singapore and Russian Federation - two places where Ferrari was quicker than Mercedes past year, but was outpaced this time. Vettel could not provide an answer as to why the team has struggled.

The German's hopes of winning a fifth Formula One title this season moved away from slim and closer to non-existent at Suzuka.

"Honestly, I thought that was how it was going to be, being as they were so strong in the previous two races". "I remember we had the same experience with Fernando".

"I would be happy to have that at every race following that". The track became increasingly damp, and there would be no challenge to Hamilton who, barring a disaster, will now extend his title lead and further tighten his grip on championship number five. Every single race I want battles like Monza.

Briatore acknowledged, however, that Ferrari also "made a lot of strategy mistakes in the last three or four races".

Error-prone Ferrari will be exchanging 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen for Monegasque youngster Charles Leclerc while Red Bull start a new partnership with Honda, whose engines have yet to match those of Mercedes or Ferrari.

"Austin is usually a good track for us, so I can't wait to unleash this beast there", said the British driver.

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