Toto Wolff has described Ferrari ongoing reliability problems as ‘unbelievable’ having seen his team close in on the Formula 1 world drivers’ and constructors’ title in Japan.

Lewis Hamilton has moved 59 points clear of Sebastian Vettel at the top of the drivers’ standings with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix coupled with the Ferrari driver’s retirement due to a broken spark plug which was detected on the sighting lap to the grid.

With Valtteri Bottas finishing fourth in Suzuka and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen a distant fifth place, Mercedes can mathematically seal both titles next time out at the United States Grand Prix with a similar result to Japan.

Wolff has shared sympathy for Ferrari’s mechanical pain but felt Hamilton produced a flawless performance which was deserving of victory.

“The misfortune of Ferrari is unbelievable having a third bad race in a row but Lewis drove a spectacular race,” Wolff said. “Once he knew Sebastian was out he was managing it to the end despite the scare on the last lap. There wasn’t any trouble at the end it was just that the tyres didn’t switch on for the end of the race after the virtual safety car.

“I remember when Nico Rosberg broke down in Singapore in 2014 which meant a big blow for his championship so we can relate to the Ferrari guys who will feel awful at the moment. We get on with them very well and Maurizio [Arrivabene] and we know it is not a situation they want to be in.

“Maybe it is a development stall of the team having made a huge step forward from the end of 2016 into 2017. There are is super-fast but just lacks reliability which would be the next steps.”

If both Mercedes drivers finish inside the top four in the United States race the German manufacturer will wrap up the constructors’ crown, while if Hamilton wins and Vettel finishes sixth or lower in Austin he can also take the drivers’ title.


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