Sebastian Vettel’s grasp on the world championship loosened even further after the Japanese GP. A spark plug failure forced the German to retire early. To make matters even worse, title rival Lewis Hamilton won the race to extended the lead to 59 points. There are now four races and 100 points on the table. Back in Malaysia, both cars were struck by manifold pipe failures. However, Vettel felt that there was a need for Ferrari protection from critics.
Vettel said “It’s normal you’re critical, especially if things go wrong, so it’s part of our job. I think I need to protect them. We’ve done an incredible job so far. It is obviously a pity the last two races with the reliability issues, but you know, it’s like that sometimes. Of course it hurts, and we’re all disappointed. But now we need to get back, get some rest and then go flat out for the last four races and see what happens.”
Since the summer break, Hamilton has won four of the last five races. He finished 2nd in Malaysia while Vettel could only manage 4th. But despite the deficit, he is still harbouring some hope of winning the championship. He said “We still have a chance, but yeah, obviously it’s not as much in our control as we’d like. Overall the team is in a good way and we are improving race by race. We’ve gone a lot further than people thought. So, there’s also some positives. But, now you don’t look at the positives, because it’s not the day to look at positives.”
Sebastian Vettel’s share of bad luck continued as he was further reprimanded for missing onto the national anthems before the race, meaning a 10 place grid penalty is seemingly very near.