Vettel tells Ferrari to ignore Mercedes advantage

Vettel tells Ferrari to ignore Mercedes advantage

The battle for the Formula One world title heads to Suzuka this weekend for the Japanese Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton looks to extend his lead at the top of the Drivers' Championship.

After leading the morning practice, Hamilton clocked a time of 1 minute, 28.217 seconds in Friday's second practice session, finishing 0.461 seconds ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull-TAG Heuer team beat his opponents in two races and Dutch Max Verstappen ranked first in one race.

Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel, a hefty 50 points behind Hamilton with five races remaining, was almost a second adrift of his fellow four-time champion.

With five races to go, his fifth world championship is nearly in the bag.

Hamilton has won five of the last six Formula One races and three of the last four at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton added to that win with further success in Singapore and Russian Federation, in the process extending his title advantage over Vettel to 50 points.

But Hamilton is taking nothing for granted while it is still mathematically possible for Vettel to catch him in the title race.

Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton dominates practice but Mercedes insist Ferrari are holding back

Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday, with Bottas in P2. "I wasn't totally satisfied with the feeling in the vehicle today". "I think we know what we were doing and I don't think we were trying to do something different to other Fridays".

"I just came here with the mindset of I know where I've got to get the vehicle, I know there's always areas to improve". I was much better than I had ever been through those particular corners. "But I just came here with the mindset, 'Okay I know where I want to get the auto'". "I'm having the best day", Hamilton said after completing his flying laps.

Channel 4 will also show the race live, but if you do not fancy getting up ay the crack of dawn then a full race replay will be broadcast from 12.30pm.

Ferrari's leading driver admitted that it is a concern ahead of the race, but is hoping that they can work it out before the third practice session and qualifying on Saturday.

Appearing to back up Wolff's claim that Ferrari are stronger than Friday suggested, Vettel appeared reasonably content with the team's start to the weekend - a day he described as a "clean Friday with no interruptions".

"We are working so hard to fine-tuning this auto, which we are becoming accustomed to now and as I said I'm loving driving more than ever".

"We'll see how it is in qualifying tomorrow".

Liverpool v Man City - Confirmed Lineups
Guardiola said on Friday playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, out since August with a knee injury, would be assessed ahead of the game. If Liverpool need to restore any confidence, they need only look back at their last three games against City -all wins.

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