Vettel needs Suzuka surprise to stay in race for fifth title

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"No, I think you attack every weekend", said the German.

The controversial decision caused uproar among some of the sport's fans, while Bottas, and for that matter Hamilton - who admitted it was the hollowest victory of his career - were left uncomfortable by the order.

"I'm split. On one side, I feel one way about it and on another, I feel differently", he said. However, since Lewis Hamilton won in Italy - overhauling a Ferrari front row lock-out - the defending champion has won comfortably in Singapore and led home a Mercedes one-two in Sochi. Maybe they have done smaller steps or bigger steps, I don't know.

But Bottas revealed that he could be told to give up his position again in Suzuka should he be ahead of Hamilton. "There have been times where, for example, Valtteri has not been in the top five and there's been a Ferrari, me and a Ferrari, and the Ferraris work together". Honestly I think last weekend, if Lewis didn't have the (tyre) blister, if he didn't have that much pressure from Sebastian, the team would have not done it.

"We have only had team orders in that one race", Hamilton told reporters in Japan.

"I just have to accept it because of what happened earlier in the season".

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The Blues' title defence faltered previous year after they finished out of the top four last season . We don't save lives, we are only good at football. "At home we made very good game as well".

"I don't like anything more than winning races and fighting for the championship - that's what I want to do".

"I'm very happy to be here, I love this track, it is my favourite track in the world so I want to enjoy it and not spoil it by starting to count on things that are against me". Bottas started from pole and was in position for his first win of the year. "This has been the best performing year so far in my career".

"I am split. This is the most unusual sport in that sense that you have two championships", Hamilton said.

"But collectively as a team we've stayed quite united through the whole experience". "So unlike people watching football or any other sport, where everyone works towards that one goal, there's two goals here".

The race for seventh place in the drivers' championship is hotting up with five drivers - Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon - separated by just six points. "I'll not focus on the things that are against me". Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, warned that Ferrari will not go down without a fight, but following his team's impressive pace in Sochi, it will take something special from their Italian rivals to stop Hamilton this weekend.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene likened the sweeping, high-speed Suzuka circuit to Silverstone, the British Grand Prix venue where then-championship leader Vettel won in July. "We made progress with our cars, the steps that we planned, the steps have been coming". You never know where you are in comparison to the others, but I'm pretty sure by speaking to all our engineers that we are where we wanted to be.

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