Formula 1

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Nico Rosberg discusses Hamilton and Vettel's strengths and weaknesses

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This weekend is the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka and sees Lewis Hamilton trying to retain his advantage at the top of the leader-board. 

The English driver is the odds-on favorite to claim another victory after securing pole position with a circuit record on Saturday.

Sebastian Vettel will yet again be his closest rival by starting in second, as has been the case all season, with the German currently 34 points behind Hamilton with just five races remaining.

The season has been a particularly eventful one for Vettel after crashing into Hamilton behind the safety car in Baku and hitting Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap of the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend.

Both incidents have left him short in the pursuit of points and has had a massive dent on his chances of becoming world champion.

One man in a perfect position to have his say on the top two drivers and discuss the chances of victory is last year's world champion, Nico Rosberg.

The now retired Mercedes driver lifted his maiden championship last year and was in a similar position to Hamilton this year, holding a 33 point lead over second place.

Rosberg believes that his former teammate is in great shape to claim his fourth championship success and thinks there isn't much more Vettel can do to close the gap. 

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"It's all about momentum in this part of the year and Lewis is in great shape. The team is in great shape and the car is looking strong this weekend so its all in his favour at the moment," he told Sky Sports.

On Vettel, Rosberg claims the German's tenacity can often prove his downfall and could cost him the title this year.

He added: "I couldn't believe it [in Baku] because he threw a definite win - through being too hot-headed and too self-confident, thinking he's always in the right. In the long run, this is a strength of his but in some moments it can be a weakness because it just boils over.

AUTO-PRIX-JPN-F1

"But Singapore - I'm not of the opinion he really messed up because he couldn't see Kimi on the inside. I think he's done a very good season and pretty much maximised everything that he could.

"Lewis has natural speed. Maybe his weakness is a little bit of ups and downs sometimes through the season. Sebastian's strength is race speed and consistency in general. He's always there and doesn't really have the big downs. Weakness - as we saw in Azerbaijan, he's a little hot-headed."

After Japan, the next three races are in the United States, Mexico, Brazil while Abu Dhabi will play host to the final Grand Prix of the season.

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