"But it doesn't help when we finish sixth and they win the race". "I definitely hadn't anticipated that Ferrari would tail off as they have".
"I will not leave Ferrari", Vettel is quoted by Auto Bild. Now it's time to find out who finished where in our rankings.
That means Hamilton only needs to outscore Vettel by eight points at the next race in the United States to clinch a fifth world championship.
"It's a great one-two for Mercedes and a true showing of the strength in depth we have", said the Briton after his fifth Japan victory and ninth of the season.
"We've just been focussing on trying to do the best job we can and maximise the potential of our own ability", he added.
Verstappen had been handed his penalty for earlier forcing Vettel's team mate Kimi Raikkonen off the track.
Vettel was left wondering what might have been after a ruining an electric start with an ill-advised attempt to duck inside Verstappen at turn 13. "You are allowed to make mistakes and also to call them out".
"If I did that, I would have to describe Ferrari's auto and then the rest of the teams will understand some more things about it".
"You say almost (done), so obviously there is still a chance", he said. I'm sure Sebastian could tell you why. "That's probably the end of his championship".
"We knew we would have a tough battle this year, and you have seen all of the ups and downs, but competition-wise it has been one of the most I have enjoyed in my career". "I even gave him space, but he understeered into my auto".
Asked whether he might think twice in future when alongside Verstappen in future, Vettel bridled at the suggestion.
After cruising to a lights-to-flag victory in Japan, on a day when chief rival Sebastian Vettel was left to rue coming off worse in another on-track tussle, the Mercedes star now leads the German by 67 points in the championship race with just 100 still to play for. The move dropped Vettel back to 18th place. I wasn't desperate to get past.
"It's normal that it sometimes gets close but you need to always give the space and in that case I couldn't go anywhere and then we touched".
Verstappen saw it differently, naturally.
The pace advantage of the Ferrari meant he easily climbed back up to sixth by half-distance but that was as far as he could get - and Ferrari declined to order Raikkonen in fifth to slow to let his team-mate by, to gain a couple of extra points.
"He drove into the side of my vehicle".
As a season that began with such promise appeared to be on the brink of collapse, Vettel admitted Ferrari had been under pressure to come up with something special at Suzuka. I don't regret the move.