Lewis Hamilton took victory in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, while Championship rival Sebastian Vettel retired early on due to a spark plug issue. That's the US Grand Prix, which will be held in Austin, Texas after two weeks.
Vettel's early retirement put a serious dent in his fading hopes of coming back to win the championship.
With just five races left and 125 points to play for, Suzuka had been billed as Vettel's last realistic chance of denting Hamilton's lead at the top of the driver's championship. He can claim the title if he wins in the US and Vettel is fifth or lower.
"The team did an incredible job, and it wasn't an easy one for us at all". Red Bull is in third place with 303 points. The most a team can score in one race is 43, so even if Ferrari enjoy a one-two in the next three races without Mercedes scoring a single point, they will still be 16 points short of their rivals heading into the final race of the season.
"Honestly, I could only have dreamed of having that kind of gap", he said.
"I wouldn't say I have one hand on it. They are so meticulous, and that is why we have the reliability we are having". I then had a long sequence on the soft tyres, I have gained ground, but we were out of the race for the points.
Tamim ruled out of second Test
I think on day one it will be a bit slow but then there'll be some bounce and it will quicken up towards day three and four. They can take a step forward if they can score runs in this game, particularly in the absence of Tamim .
"To be honest there is not really any need to change my approach", he said. "I'm running out of opportunities to get this pole, so I was like "I've got to make sure I make it stick today", added Hamilton, who was on pole in Japan at Fuji in 2007 for McLaren.
"I'm not taking insane risks to be in the position I'm in".
Vettel's spark plug problem was identified as his Ferrari was sacked up yesterday morning and, despite furious work from his mechanics and taking the start from second on the grid, it was soon evident it would prove his undoing. Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was third.
"But I need to protect them [Ferrari]".
"I think we will just try to continue to do what we are doing, of course, we want to look after the auto and the engine, but we are already doing that throughout the races". For the majority of the race, Hamilton was able to manage the gap, but a late puncture for Lance Stroll's Williams caused a Virtual Safety Car with just a handful of laps remaining.