Vettel: Verstappen completely to blame for F1 Japanese GP collision

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But as Vettel was left hopping mad over the tangle with Verstappen that sent his Ferrari spinning off, Hamilton expressed dismay at his rival's nose-diving form.

Vettel's misfortune eased Hamilton's path towards what now looks like an inevitable fifth title, with the Briton taking his sixth win in seven races and ninth of the season.

In order for Vettel to remain in the championship hunt, he'll need to finish in the Top 2 at the United States Grand Prix to keep his hopes alive.

Afterwards Verstappen said: "You can't overtake in that corner".

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel cut a resigned figure after Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix while defending an ill-fated overtaking attempt on Max Verstappen that cost him heavily in the championship battle with Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen was already set to serve a five-second penalty for his earlier altercation with Raikkonen, and Vettel pinned the blame for the accident at the Dutchman's door. "He didn't give enough room and we touched".

Verstappen, who finished third, had been handed the penalty for forcing Vettel's team mate Kimi Raikkonen off the track earlier in the race and would have dropped behind Vettel anyway at the pitstops.

Hamilton, having benefitted from Mercedes" "masterstroke' in qualifying to secure pole on Saturday, made light work of the race at Suzuka on Sunday, claiming a fourth successive Grand Prix victory in comfortable fashion. He will then jet across the pond to race at a venue where he is unbeaten since 2013. A trouble-free race, and he even sounded fairly relaxed rather than his usual keyed-up self, managing a joke with his team over the radio as he enquired whether his race engineer had gone on a break and forgotten to give him any updates from elsewhere on the track.

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Griffen said he doesn't know exactly when he'll be back in uniform, but he plans to "return as a much-improved person and player". We've got to take care of our jobs. "He's a good runner, so play action bought him some time, so that's what delayed the rush".

Meantime, Charles Leclerc says he could not understand why Kevin Magnussen was not penalised for his "dangerous" move in their fight at Suzuka.

"It's not always right the other guy has to move".

Verstappen finished third, while Raikkonen fell to fifth and said damage from the collision made his auto "far from ideal" afterwards. The stewards investigated the incident, but tellingly took no action.

"For me it's risky at this type of speed", said Leclerc.

Force India's Sergio Perez was seventh ahead of Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

'I have dreamt about winning the title all year long, ' said Hamilton, 33.

"We don't know why it broke because in the beginning we had no telemetry", he explained.

"Up until the mid-part of the season they were very strong and then we obviously got to Monza and then after that they were still quite strong from Monza, Singapore and then at Singapore was when it really started to tail off".

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