Vettel starred on Saturday in Japan, qualifying inside the top 10 - keeping up his impressive streak of making Q3 at every race at Suzuka in his F1 career. 

The German will bow out of F1 at the end of the season, even though he still can perform at an incredibly high level.

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Vettel has enjoyed incredible success at Suzuka over the years, taking four wins and five pole positions, while he secured his second drivers’ championship at the 2011 Japanese GP.

He said over team radio after qualifying ninth: "OK boys, good session. Oh I really enjoyed it. This track is just so much better than all the other ones. Thank you. Arigato gozaimasu Suzuka, thank you. I will miss this place, but we've got the race tomorrow.”

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Vettel added: “No [I don’t regret retiring] it’s more laps that like this make me a bit, not regret because I look forward to what’s coming but a bit sad that it’s the last time. 

“Saturday here is different to Sunday because Sunday you have more fuel in the car, it’s more managing and different discipline in a way. 

“Saturday is really when you’re flying. We’re far away from P1 but still the feeling in the car is something special when the fuel is light and the tyres are fresh.”

Despite qualifying over 1.2s off pole position, Vettel said he had a “big smile” every time he drove through the high-speed first sector.

“Yes, if you don’t look on the scoreboard where we ended up I think the feeling is pretty much the same in terms of how happy I was with the laps that I had today and the final one again,” he said. 

“I love this place. I love this track. You just feel more alive. When you’re battling with the car and then yourself up that first sector, it’s just a big smile every time.”

Aston Martin are involved in a tight fight for seventh in the constructors’ championship, with Haas and AlphaTauri right behind.

Vettel is hopeful Aston Martin’s “big rear wing” benefits them if the rain comes.

“We also have quite a big rear wing on,” Vettel explained. “Maybe it helps, but we will see. We will see what happens. We have nothing to lose. Obviously, it’s tight in the championship, constructors’ and we want to score some points. On paper, this is probably not the best track for us. We had a good day today so why not again tomorrow.”