Ferrari chief fumes when asked about Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen incident

Hamilton wanted longer fight with rival Sebastian Vettel on track

Sebastian Vettel admits he knew Max Verstappen had a penalty before making an ambitious move that saw the Scuderia Ferrari driver spun at the Japanese Grand Prix.

But while Mercedes has been a well-oiled machine this season, several costly errors from Ferrari and Vettel have allowed their rivals to build a near-unassailable lead.

But Hamilton, who will secure the title if he wins in Austin, Texas next Sunday and Vettel fails to finish second, insists the German is owed greater credit.

"I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian", Hamilton posted on his Instagram account.

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

When asked about the championship almost being closed, Vettel said: "You say almost".

Schumacher, whose January 3 birthday falls four days before Hamilton's, was also 33 when he celebrated his fifth championship in 2002 - but he did it in France in July with six races to spare.

When asked by Autosport how much it means to him to have beaten Vettel in racing situations, Hamilton said: "I love that we have those races and those battles". Despite the sudden turnaround Vettel says the team is still operating with a positive mindset.

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It might be said that, because Mercedes" Hamilton can actually race into mathematical certainty for his fifth crown in Austin next weekend, he already has "one hand on the trophy'.

Sebastian Vettel at the Monza circuit for the Italian Grand Prix.

" But I think we have gone from strength to strength this year as a team, so I really hope that we can [win]". I thought that was how it was going to be, being that they were so strong at the previous two races.

"I think we're trying our utmost to fight and resist".

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

Briatore pointed to Vettel's heat-of-the-moment attitude at Monza - when he clashed with Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap of the race - as a case study of his weakness. Arrivabene said. "We got the news about the penalty very, very late; Sebastian was doing his job, and as far as I know, his auto was on the inside". It is always hard to make the right call, but that is another real big difference that we as a team have made this year.

"Having experienced many crises myself during my time with Ferrari, what I know is that this is the time to come together, stay united and look ahead, without resorting to recrimination and playing the blame game".

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