Max Verstappen could be set for Red Bull exit for 2019 season

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Two weeks ago in Singapore, Vettel started from pole position and looked set to regain the championship lead.

He finished second to the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, extending his lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to 34 points in the championship fight.

Jos Verstappen is a hard man, he's a tough nut to crack, but you know even he was shedding a few tears.

Can Mercedes continue their dominance in Japan?

One of the most coveted rounds of the F1 season, the Malaysian Grand Prix hosted its very last race before signing off as an F1 venue.

Another win for Hamilton and combine that with Vettel failing to take podium finish will really open up a big game which might be enough for Hamilton to cruise to his 4th world title.

Red Bull have had a tough season, with only Ricciardo winning the dramatic race in Baku with an opportunist's skill until his just-turned-20 team-mate finally had a reliable run to get the job done last time out.

Championship leader Hamilton added: "Considering the issues we did have with the vehicle this is a good result".

"Even if I had closed the door and held Verstappen back on that lap, he would have got me on another", Hamilton said.

Meanwhile, the omens do not look good for Ferrari in Japan.

We've become used to Mercedes dominating in recent years, seeing Hamilton securing pole positions and race victories, but make no mistake: Saturday was one of those occasions of a driver taking a auto beyond what it should have been capable of.

After the race, an "angry" Marchionne suggested there were plans for changes to the organisation but when those comments were put to Vettel, he said: "I heard that as well, not from him, but from the press so I'm not sure it's put in the right context". Palmer has entered 36 races since his debut but has managed just two point-scoring finishes, including sixth in last month's Singapore Grand Prix.

Vettel's collision with Stroll was investigated by the stewards, who deemed that no further action was warranted.

Hamilton leads the title race, while Mercedes are clear in the constructors' championship, but both confessed that all was not well with their vehicle.

This will be the 44th Japanese Grand Prix in F1 history.

The only race since the turn of the decade that was not won by the eventual world champion was 2011's grand prix - Jenson Button took the chequered flag on that occasion for McLaren. "So there's something we need to obviously understand".

Indeed inter-team rivalry at the top of the championship hasn't existed for a good while now, the Red Bull dominance directly followed by the Mercedes whitewash.

As the crowds streamed en masse to the final hosting of the Malaysian Grand Prix expectations were high among the colourful fans of Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, and many others as various nationalities converged to relish in and share their passion for Formula 1 racing.