If Hamilton leaves Suzuka with a 29-point lead over Vettel, he will only need to finish second at the remaining four rounds to secure the championship - regardless of Vettel's results.
Sergio Perez was struck down with a virus in Malaysia but somehow managed the nearly superhuman effort of finishing sixth for Force India in the most physically demanding Grand Prix on the calendar.
If Hamilton, victor of three of the last four races, leaves Suzuka with an advantage of at least 29 points over Vettel, he can potentially beat the German to the title without stepping on the top step of the podium again. "We thought we'd be stronger in the last race but we were way off but we still got pole and finished second". "I hope not because, as I said, it was completely unnecessary", said the four times world champion after hitching a ride on Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber back to the pits.
"Even if I had closed the door and held Verstappen back on that lap, he would have got me on another", Hamilton said.
Formula One title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel should both be wary of resurgent Red Bull after Max Verstappen's victory in Malaysia at the weekend. Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne's mood won't be helped by the fact that his team has not won in Japan since Michael Schumacher's 2004 victory.
Vettel's collision with Stroll was investigated by the stewards, who deemed that no further action was warranted.
This is all a testament to the 118-point lead that Mercedes AMG possesses over Ferrari in the constructor's championship, which might as well already be in the freight back to Brackley. A turbo failure on the warm up lap meant that the Ferrari had to be pushed off the grid and out of the race. At 20 years old he is so comfortable in that position: 'hey, I'm here, I'm leading the Grand Prix, I belong.' He's not daunted by it at all, he acts like he belongs there and he really does. "That is the underlying feeling with all of us: We need to understand why we underperform on certain circuits (with) very high temperatures".
Mercedes is giving a false impression of dominance in this season's Formula One championship.
To say that the Singapore and Malaysian Grand Prix weekends had been hard for Ferrari is nowhere near strong enough. After his retirement in Malaysia 12 months ago, Hamilton went on a run of eight consecutive podiums - five of those on the top step.
This thread was started by reader "cb1965", stating how Hamilton and Vettel "seem to have swapped roles". Lewis, Hamilton, however produced a stunning qualifying lap to leapfrog competition and set a time which ultimately proved to be unbeatable, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen just 0.045 seconds (less than the time it takes one to blink) slower than the Brit.