Because he failed to set a time in qualifying, the four-time F1 champion was starting the race from last place, so effectively the 20-place grid drop makes no difference. Meanwhile, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo held onto third ahead of Vettel who charged through the field to finish fourth.
We had such a hard day yesterday, it was hard to know where we stood, Hamilton said. About 30-40% of our engineers are Japanese, so we have a big moment of the year. I'm surprised to be up here.
This was a Lewis lap, said non-executive chairman Niki Lauda. After having crossed the finish line at the Sepang circuit, the driver, 18-year-old lifted the foot as is the custom.
"We can not get distracted by the fact we got lucky again". Maybe we shouldn't underestimate the driving factor.
Hamilton said in the wake of the Sepang race he had a clear idea of the set-up direction Mercedes needed to take in Japan, but he added on Thursday he was still struggling to predict what he could expect from his W08 prior to most weekends. While Bottas continued to use the new kit, Hamilton reverted to the parts he had used previously this season. When Max passed Lewis we heard Lewis on the radio talking about de-rate so we thought he would come back at him.
Before Qualifying I was thinking about going back onto the new one as Valtteri seemed very happy on it and I didn't want to carry a penalty - you want every little millisecond that you can get.
Coming into Suzuka, Vettel was 29 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso, then of Ferrari.More news: Pride at Work: Sessions can not unilaterally change or reinterpret the law
"The last three years I think we were competitive but not competitive enough to win", he said, expressing confidence that the engine issues that struck him and team mate Kimi Raikkonen in Malaysia had been resolved. His team mate Kimi Raikkonen had a much better Saturday afternoon as he qualified second.
'I went on the outside to pick up rubber and I think Lance wasn't looking and wanted to do the same but I was already there, ' Vettel told Sky Sports in the aftermath.
'I think we're gonna have to go to the stewards, it was a very unusual incident and obviously the race wasn't going on so it wasn't intentional'.
Since F1's summer break, Red Bull have closed the gap considerably to the leading two teams, and with five races remaining, Verstappen hopes luck will be on his side. The driver who was on pole for the race, Danial Frost, ended up officially "winning".
"All I can say is that I am fairly open minded and confident that we will have a strong package". I was hopeful they would be quicker today but without a doubt tomorrow they will be on our tail.
A turbo failure on the warm up lap meant that the Ferrari had to be pushed off the grid and out of the race. Well, you get them to learn the art of Kendo. Now we're working on the quality department and making some organizational changes.