Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has urged his Formula 1 team to “stay concentrated” in the 2018 title battle against rivals Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton moved within touching distance of sealing his fifth drivers’ world title thanks to a commanding victory in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, with the Briton pulling 67 points clear of Sebastian Vettel with just 100 points up for grabs in the remaining four rounds.

The result means Hamilton could seal the 2018 world championship by winning the upcoming United States Grand Prix, providing Vettel finishes no higher than third. But Wolff stressed there is no room for Mercedes to become complacent with a significant amount of points still on the table.

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“I think it’s important to stay concentrated,” Wolff said. “I don’t believe that having your hands on the trophy, because you either have it in your hands or not, and we haven’t got it in our hands.

“We haven’t got the drivers trophy in our hands and we haven’t got the constructors trophy in our hands, which is a little bit further away.

“So the way we’ve approached things is take it race weekend by race weekend and try to optimise the car for every weekend and really take it as an ambitious target to perform at all tracks in all kinds of conditions.

“Then take every single race weekend as a new championship from Friday to Sunday, and this has worked so far.”

Mercedes’ position in the constructors’ standings has also been strengthened, with its 1-2 finish at Suzuka enabling the reigning world champions to move 78 points clear of Ferrari after Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel could only manage fifth and sixth respectively.

When asked if he remains worried about freak circumstances such as reliability coming into play, Wolff replied: “Yes, absolutely. The freak incidents happen everywhere. A DNF and the consequent bad result suddenly wipes off a large chunk of your points.

“I know from the probably standpoint it doesn’t look likely, but this is motor racing, it’s a sport, anything could happen. I don’t want to even think about him [Lewis] breaking a finger. Anything can happen in motor racing.

“I don’t want to dwell to much about it, because this is bad karma too, so let’s just get it done — let’s go to Austin, let’s have a strong race weekend and then hopefully see the championship.”

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