F1 Paddock Pass: Japanese Grand Prix

Vettel's disappointment was mirrored in the faces of the Ferrari team in the garage

When's the Japanese GP on Sky?

Sebastian Vettel fell further behind Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton after Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix but the Ferrari driver still saw cause for optimism in the title battle.

"I enjoyed the race today".

"Me and the vehicle I think have lots of things in common - it's got great potential but doesn't always want to do what you tell it to do," he joked.

"It's not done until there's nothing more to push in".

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen not only became the final victor at the Sepang International Circuit, but the Dutchman also became the youngest to grace the top of the podium in 19 editions of the Malaysian GP.

As the crowds streamed en masse to the final hosting of the Malaysian Grand Prix expectations were high among the colourful fans of Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, and many others as various nationalities converged to relish in and share their passion for Formula 1 racing.

An opening lap crash at the last race in Singapore, where he had started on pole, cost him 25 points to Hamilton, who capitalised to win from fifth.

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"You've seen so far in the season there have been races where we have been quicker than others, races where we've not had the best vehicle and won". Now we're working on the quality department and making some organizational changes.

It was only two years ago at this very same venue that Verstappen raced with the panache of a veteran to become the youngest Grand Prix driver ever to score World Championship points with an impressive seventh place. We just have to do our best and we need to score much more than them. "Each race is just really trying to understand more about the vehicle because there's constantly something new thrown in the mix, (that) can catch us off guard".

Off the pace in Malaysia, Toto Wolff insists Mercedes are not the favourites heading into this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

If Ferrari have to look back and think about when the World Championship was lost, these two weekends, in Singapore and Malaysia, will be the ones that come to mind.

In the recent weeks both Ferrari and Red bull has picked up the pace specially Daniel Riccardio who has been consistently taking podium finishes and gave Rosberg a decent fight towards the end of the race.

"But it's cooler conditions, generally the hotter places we struggle a little bit more, so hopefully it'll bring it back more into our window".

As a result, Vettel has fallen 34 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' standings while Ferrari trails Mercedes by 118.

"I think the team find that with me maybe", he smiled. Hamilton himself described the struggles over the weekend as "just not acceptable at this great a team", and Wolff was moved to remind everyone of how strong the vehicle has been at times.

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