Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel enjoyed his brief fight against Lewis Hamilton in F1 Japanese as he lauded the work done by Mercedes.

It hasn’t been the cleanest few years for Vettel but the German still stacks up well against his rivals. Even though they were on different strategies but Vettel had a good fight against Hamilton in the latter stages of F1 Japanese GP at Suzuka.

Vettel lost out at the start of the grand prix which allowed Valtteri Bottas to get by. He was second all-through and looked set to finish in the same position until the final stages of the grand prix when Hamilton was charging behind on a new set of tyres.

The German managed to keep him behind and took second eventually. “I was surprised when Hamilton pitted to be honest, I expected him to stay out and try the one stop,” said Vettel. “Before that, Valtteri was so far away and we were not fast.

“It was not possible to catch him, so when Hamilton came out I was not rushing to open the gap, I was just trying to keep my tyres somehow fresh to make sure that if he arrives then everything is still in good shape and I have the chance to have good corner exits and play the advantage we have down the straights, which worked.

“It got a bit close once with traffic but other than that I think it was quite good. I was quite quite happy when I saw the chequered flag. I didn’t want to do another five laps like that. But I knew obviously in the places where you can’t pass I can take it easy to try to maintain the tyres a little bit.

“I enjoyed it but obviously I knew that I was a bit of a sitting duck because I was quite slow in the corners and very fast on the straights, so I just tried to play my advantage and that worked. I’m sure that Lewis didn’t enjoy that as much but in the end we tried as hard as we could to stay ahead despite being slower at the end so that’s good.”

Vettel also praised the work done by Mercedes to win six consecutive constructors’ title as they are also about to make it a double with sixth drivers’ championship too. It’s very difficult [to assess what they are doing differently],” said Vettel.

“Obviously you can’t see what they are doing but I think from the outside they are very close to perfection every time they go out on track so very consistent, very little mistakes. That’s certainly also part of what makes them so strong.

“If you clinch the constructors’ title with four races to go there’s a lot of things you do better than all the others. If you go into detail then you can argue what their car is maybe doing better than ours but I don’t think that’s the point overall, it’s a team effort.

“As I said, I think we do have the ingredients, we do have the commitment, we do have the intelligence but we just need to do it better. It’s a lot of small things; it’s not one thing that we need to improve, it’s a lot of small things that we need to do better.

“I don’t think we’re lacking anything. I think we just need to work better. I think we are very committed, working very hard but it’s not yet on the level that can be achieved. Obviously Mercedes have shown that in the last years that you can do better and they’ve been able to maintain that.

“I think we are not in that position, but I’ve loved to be honest and I’m sure that we would be more enthusiastic by nature but that’s not the case so we need to work better.” Whatever Vettel said is quite true as Ferrari missed a lot of chances in the last few seasons.

Here’s how the F1 Japanese GP panned out

Sebastian Vettel on his mistake and FIA’s clarification

Valtteri Bottas admits about concerns he had of Lewis Hamilton not pitting

Robert Kubica felt let down by Williams in Japanese GP

Charles Leclerc accepted blame for Turn 2 incident

Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton dedicate title to Niki Lauda

Sergio Perez feels he left enough space for Pierre Gasly in their clash

Alexander Albon says Lando Norris left the door open for the move

Daniel Ricciardo didn’t like team orders but it worked for them

Carlos Sainz proud of his efforts in Japanese GP

Kimi Raikkonen reveals running two different packages in Japan

Japanese GP: Key statistics and information from 2019 F1 race