Vettel: Ferrari damaging tyres more than F1 rivals at Japanese GP

Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton dominates practice but Mercedes insist Ferrari are holding back

In the hope of closing the gap to Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel has vowed to go aggressive with his race strategy at the Japanese Grand Prix, but says Ferrari will stop short of employing silly tactics to try to win.

The gap to Kimi Raikkonen was more than a second as Ferrari lost significant time in the power-sensitive final sector, and while teams tend to turn down their power units on a Friday, Vettel says Ferrari needs to maximize its own auto and ensure it's Mercedes' closest rival if it can't close the gap.

Toto Wolff has dismissed suggestions that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have both titles wrapped up after building sizeable leads in both the drivers' and constructors' championships with five rounds to go.

"We were not expecting to be as fast as we were in the last race", explained the world championship leader.

Even if Vettel wins all five remaining races, he's not guaranteed to beat Hamilton.

Vettel had hoped the Suzuka circuit would suit his auto better than the last two races in Singapore and Russian Federation to ignite his fading title hopes but on Friday's evidence the Mercedes pair will be hard to beat.

After his fastest time was 0.833s shy of Hamilton in second practice, Vettel did not appear confident about securing pole position on Saturday. "I wasn't totally satisfied with the feeling in the auto today". "Obviously you don't want to commit suicide so I think if we attack we still try to be reasonable".

Not only were they close to a second lap slower than Mercedes in qualifying time, Hamilton also had a huge advantage on their race-simulation runs, where Hamilton was 0.7secs quicker than Vettel on the super-soft tyre.

"I just have to stay on it, keep working", Hamilton said.

"I'm just loving driving more than ever; when you get in the vehicle, it's just the best".

"But I think overall, it has been OK".

Channel 4 will also show the race live, but if you do not fancy getting up ay the crack of dawn then a full race replay will be broadcast from 12.30pm.

"It has been a clean Friday, no issues with the vehicle".

"We have never seen the real performance", he said.

"We were able to focus on our work and now we have to try to obviously squeeze out everything that is left in the vehicle for tomorrow".

"You can always do something, the question is if it works", Vettel told Sky Sports. "We're expecting some rain overnight and the wind looks strong tomorrow which could make things tricky for the drivers in qualifying".

"Maybe the next couple of tracks are better suited for us, we will know when we get there", said Vettel.

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