Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton reacts to Sebastian Vettel's retirement at Japanese Grand Prix

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As Lewis Hamilton closes in on another world title, the 32-year-old said that he sympathised with his German rival Sebastian Vettel.

"He's been very unfortunate through no fault of his own,” the Brit told Sky Sports.

"I was excited to have a good race with Sebastian here, but he's been incredibly unfortunate."

Hamilton’s victory in the Japanese Grand Prix takes his lead out to a potentially unassailable 59 points with just four races remaining.

Vettel did not enjoy the best weekend at the Suzuka grid.

The 30-year-old from Heppenheim found himself in trouble with race stewards after turning up late for the pre-race national anthem, earning him a non-driving reprimand.

Whatever Vettel’s issues are at the moment, Hamilton now has one hand on the championship trophy, even if the Englishman is refusing to accept that a fourth championship is very much on the cards.

"I wouldn't say I have one hand on it," the three time world champion told Sky Sports F1.

"There are still 100 points available.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan

"I'm still going to keep the pedal to the metal.

"For the first half of the race it was very, very well under control,

"But the second half of the race was a lot harder.

"Tyres, balance of the car, traffic we were getting a lot of the time.

“Then with the Virtual Safety Car, which I did a good job under, the front tyres weren't working so I had massive understeer.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan

"Then all of a sudden he [Verstappen] was on me. He looked so big in my mirrors but really grateful the car stuck together and I didn't make any mistakes. I'm really proud of that."

Although Hamilton is keeping his cards close to his chest, taking a 59 point lead into the final four races should see him over the line for world title number four.

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