No gearbox penalty for Sebastian Vettel in Japan

No gearbox penalty for Sebastian Vettel in Japan

No gearbox penalty for Sebastian Vettel in Japan

Lewis Hamilton leads Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by 34 points in the overall standings with just five races remaining.

However, despite enjoying a season-high advantage, Hamilton has insisted: "I'm not comfortable at all". "There have been other issues, like last weekend, as it was being a very nice weekend, I was very happy with the auto, with how it was handling and doing the things that we wanted it to, so for sure we have improved the vehicle and the speed".

"So until that last flag, until I've actually got it sewn up, then that's what you've got to keep doing", said the Briton, who added that he will not be taking any unnecessary risks.

"It is not done until there is no more to push it in".

Here, we looks at the main talking points as Formula One leaves Malaysia for Japan and another round of the championship.

Mercedes was slower than Ferrari and Red Bull for the second straight race in Malaysia after similarly struggling for pace in Singapore.

"It's definitely dependent on track by track", said Hamilton, who has won seven races in 2017.

"You look at the last one [Malaysia], we were far off, and all of a sudden we got pole position".

"We tried to fight for the podium, pushed very hard, but in the end the tyres were starting to give up and we couldn't be really there".

Practice in Malaysia was going well for the four-time champion until engine trouble cropped up at the worst of times to deny him the chance to qualify for the race.

"It's cool because we'll work on those and we'll work on better procedures that are more efficient so that we apply them to the races coming up, stuff that we'll do next year, stuff that'll apply to our cars next year, so we become an even better team than we are".

And the Brit has admitted today that he does not know if the Japanese Grand Prix circuit at Suzuka will suit the Mercedes any more than Sepang. Sepang was a weekend where on Thursday we would have said Mercedes was still favourites, with Ferrari close. The vehicle had been slower than both Ferrari and Red Bull for much of the weekend but, after storming to a surprising pole, Hamilton took 18 points which could prove vital come the end of the season.

If you were Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton, you'd be working through all the data points after having a massive post-race debrief which was more like a post-mortem into why your vehicle only finished second and was suddenly (for the second race in succession) a long way off the pace of your rivals.

"The guys want to go one direction and I'm hesitant and more feeling for another way".

He added: "We'll have to wait until we're back in the vehicle [with that gearbox], which will be on Saturday, but it should be fine from what I heard".

The Japanese Grand Prix will be shown live on Sky Sports Formula One.

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