Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel: A partnership destined to fail from beginning

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the second practice session of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the second practice session of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

Instead they made contact, with Vettel spun around.

The results left Mercedes with a 78-point lead in the Constructors' Championship and with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton a 67-point lead over Vettel in the drivers' chase.

Hamilton, 67 points clear of the Ferrari driver with just 100 left on the table, will secure his fifth title at the United States Grand Prix in a fortnight's time if he wins and his rival is third or lower.

The team itself hasn't helped out matters and when 2017 posed a genuine title challenge, they slipped up, with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton taking advantage and winning the Championship yet again. But I think we have gone from strength to strength this year as a team, so I really hope that we can [win].

Race stewards took no action against either driver.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who started 15th after an engine failure in qualifying, finished fourth for Red Bull and ahead of Raikkonen after making the jump during the pitstops.

Was the Vettel and Verstappen collision a result of the German's desperation?

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.

"The Ferraris pulled out of the garage on the inters and I honestly didn't think it was the right decision", said the Briton, who has won five of the last six races to stand on the cusp of retaining his world title.

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff oversaw another flawless weekend for his team, as Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of a fifth world title.Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second in. For me, the gap was there - otherwise I wouldn't do it. I wasn't desperate to get past. Brendon Hartley got a bad start and immediately fell down the order while Pierre Gasly's tumble out of the points was drawn out over the whole race. "On my side, it feels like one of the highs, but I don't want to stop here".

Verstappen saw it differently, sniffing: "He could have been a bit more careful". Vettel was pressured into trying to make something from his lowly grid slot and his eagerness led to another misjudgement that cost him dearly.

As his chances of pipping Hamilton to a fifth Formula One crown slip away, Vettel was still seething after the race.

Raikkonen was also in a dark mood after an incident on the opening lap when Verstappen drove over the grass at the chicane before bumping into his Ferrari.

"And he chose to go around the outside, he could have waited for me to understeer wide. It's not been going in our favour, which of course we need to understand why, if others did something better, then we need to know why".

Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was more critical, saying Ferrari had made an "unacceptable" blunder in the final phase of qualifying.

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