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Bottas was as quick, if not quicker — Vettel

Bottas was as quick, if not quicker — Vettel

The four-time champion took the lead at the start and, apart from a period after his pit stop, controlled an incident-packed race to finish 2.8 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes. Yet the deficit to Hamilton in qualifying in the latter parts of the season along with today's troubles converting pole into a win may just be a cause for concern.

"But, you have to remember Sebastian was managing the pace at every moment of the race, apart from the last laps".

Revelling at the front of the pack, Hamilton did not give Bottas a chance to pass him, but the contest further back was intense. Hamilton was a second a lap quicker at some points and Vettel admitted that while his car was strong through the corners it was still losing on the straights at Interlagos. That he chose to still hurl himself at the race, attempting to chase down third place right to the flag shows how hungry he is - a far cry from when he lost focus after taking the title in 2015. Vettel won the race, with Bottas behind and Kimi Räikkönen rounding out the podium.

Indeed, Vettel eventually apologised for causing the crash, but managed to dodge an FIA penalty.

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner has criticised F1's stewards for a lack of consistency after Romain Grosjean was penalised in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

"But you must not underestimate that in traffic against the Ferraris it was pretty difficult".

"I don't want to be a number one driver because you want to beat your team-mate in a normal way with the same material".

Of course Toro Rosso make the risky switch to Honda next year, but for Red Bull and Renault, and indeed McLaren, a more powerful and reliable power unit can't come soon enough. It was early doors, for one.

"Hopefully we can carry that strength into the next couple of years, not just next year, not just the winter but also the future". A decision unlikely from Hamilton, Max Verstappen or Daniel Ricciardo for example. However, as good as the champion was, the W08 exhibited severe understeer when Hamilton was following cars. Super-confident on the brakes and blessed with a sixth sense to perfectly place the car, the Australian again made a case for the unofficial title as F1's best overtaker.