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Hamilton calls for more Vettel respect

Hamilton calls for more Vettel respect

Sebastian Vettel says it has been "inspirational" to see his Ferrari's teams spirit unaffected by its dramatic capitulation in the 2018 championship fight with Mercedes.

Hamilton went on to overhaul Kimi Raikkonen to win the Monza race, then took victory in Singapore and Russian Federation - two places where Ferrari was quicker than Mercedes previous year, but was outpaced this time.

Lewis Hamilton insists his feet will stay firmly on the ground over the next fortnight despite being on the brink of championship glory.

"We seem to have the stamina this year".

Vettel and Ferrari were fighting a close battle with Mercedes for much of the championship but their season has unravelled partly because of a series of errors, even before Mercedes found an extra gear at the Singapore Grand Prix in mid-September.

Some of the criticism has been scathing, with British F1 journalist Jonathan McEvoy saying the Italian manufacturers "practically gift-wrapped the world title" for Hamilton.

Hamilton will start the Japanese Grand Prix from the front of the grid after claiming an 80th pole position of his record-breaking career at the Suzuka circuit on Saturday. He recovered well but could only claw his way back to eighth.

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"I know from the probable standpoint it doesn't look likely, but this is motor racing, it's a sport, anything could happen".

"But they just lost a lot of performance, and then it's been obviously a little bit hard for them".

"The rear of the auto was moving around a lot, particularly with the left-handers and obviously I had been hit on the right". "I know that the situation looks impossible", Ferrari team-boss Maurizio Arrivabene himself conceded. Those are the races that I love. "I can't let that take away from the great job that we're doing and from our happiness".

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff also defended Vettel, when asked why Vettel has faded during the second half of the campaign.

"This is a tough fight and nobody is prepared to give an inch, not us, not our competitors", he told the Guardian before the weekend's race. Trailing Hamilton by 50 points heading into Sunday's race at Suzuka, Vettel was already in need of a miracle to re-ignite his fading title hopes.

"We must be relentless and resilient".

Speaking in an interview on 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg's podcast, Briatore said: "Vettel is not winning the championship, he's winning races and it doesn't work like that". So, I was fairly open minded when coming out of the hairpin.