Ferrari explain Sebastian Vettel engine failure at Japanese Grand Prix

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Mercedes-AMG driver Lewis Hamilton consolidated his lead for the 2017 world title as he won the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, ahead of Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Vettel ran into trouble for the third race in a row after crashing out on the opening lap in Singapore and suffering engine trouble in Malaysia which forced him to start from the back of the grid.

He was sixth after the first lap and stayed out during a safety-car period following a crash by Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz - but after rapidly losing places again at the re-start after three laps was called into the pits a lap later.

Ferrari had no choice but to retire Vettel from the race, ending his hopes of cutting the gap to Hamilton, who now leads the race for Mercedes.

In a championship in which Ferrari and Mercedes have been so closely matched, Vettel has seen his title hopes torn to shreds at the last three rounds.

His issues presented Hamilton with an incredible opportunity, and as he raced away at the front of the field, he appeared ready to take it, quickly putting some distance between himself and Verstappen. "I've just got to try and keep my head down and hopefully continue to perform like this". "Of course it hurts and we're all disappointed". All I can really say is that I have to put it down to my team. Hamilton's victory means he has opened up an nearly insurmountable 59-point lead ahead of Sebastian Vettel, with just 100 points left to play for. Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was third. Obviously it's not as much in our control as we'd like, but overall I think the team is on a good way. "That was a pretty huge effort from everyone on the team", Alonso said after the race.

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"It is certainly to be regretted these last two races for the reliability, Vettel said. So for sure we will look into everything if it could have been done better, but I understood the situation". I tried my all.

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel suffered the agony of another retirement on Sunday as his Formula One title hopes disappeared nearly over the horizon.

"The race after the start spread out and wasn't that exciting from my point of view".

"It's a circuit I've always enjoyed, and with this year's auto it's a lot of fun".

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, starting from the 10th place due to a grid penalty, failed to repeat his 2005 miracle and ended the fifth place.

The Dutchman was all over Hamilton on the penultimate lap at Suzuka, as the race leader got bogged down lapping the squabbling Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

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