"Hurt" Vettel says he now needs to "protect" Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel thinks it is essential he "protects" his Ferrari Formula 1 team right now from the inevitable criticism it will face amid its latest reliability drama.

"Hurt" Vettel says he now needs to "protect" Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, passes Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, at the start of the race
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Ferrari mechanics observe the car of Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, technical issues
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H

The German's world title hopes suffered a fresh blow in the Japanese Grand Prix when he was forced out early on with a spark plug failure.

On the back of the double engine problems that Ferrari suffered in Malaysia, after a manifold pipe failed on both cars, the latest technical problem has left its championship hopes in tatters.

Although saying that what happened in Japan 'hurt', Vettel felt it would be wrong to criticise the outfit for all that had gone wrong – as he instead said he needed to shield his outfit from likely flak.

"It's normal you're critical, especially if things go wrong, so it's part of our job," Vettel told Sky.

"I think I need to protect them. We've done an incredible job so far. It is obviously a pity the last two races with the reliability issues, but you know, it's like that sometimes.

"Of course it hurts, and we're all disappointed. But now we need to get back, get some rest and then go flat out for the last four races and see what happens."

Vettel's failure, allied to title rival Lewis Hamilton's win in Japan, is leaving it likely that the world championship will now be wrapped up early.

The German is now 59 points behind Hamilton with four races remaining, meaning he could already clinch the title in Austin. 

But despite the uphill task he is faced with, Vettel said he would not give up yet.

"We still have a chance... but yeah, obviously it's not as much in our control as we'd like," he said. "But overall the team is in a good way and we are improving race by race.

"I think we've gone a lot further than people thought. So there's also some positives but, for sure, now you don't look at the positives because it's not the day to look at positives."

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Vettel title hopes suffer major blow after Suzuka DNF
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