"I think we know where we stand". The guys, they are responsible for the different areas, they could think, 'OK, if he's pointing the finger at Sebastian, next time it's my turn.' It's not what I want.
Vettel's pass on Verstappen into Turn Seven on the first lap came just before a safety auto was called after Force India's Sergio Perez pushed his team-mate Esteban Ocon into the wall on the exit of the first chicane. A fifth title already looks to be well within his grasp but after this weekend and on such form, even this once seemingly insurmountable target has begun to look achievable. Verstappen said that he didn't want to take the risk on passing the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport auto, plus saying he found it unfair how the slow cars didn't get out of the way for him.
Considering Vettel makes more mistakes than Hamilton, a 40-point gap looks a huge advantage with only six races left.
Dutchman Verstappen, on the other hand, needed far more persuasion to get going and could be heard saying, "I'm literally going to puke" when Ricciardo offered him a tasty morsel.
With Verstappen using the Soft Pirelli compounds over Vettel's Ultrasofts to the end of the race, Verstappen was able to pull away from the Ferrari in the latter stages of the race.
Although Ferrari took a convincing 1-2 in qualifying at the Italian GP two weeks ago - Raikkonen ahead of Vettel - Vettel spun off track after a shaky start and finished fourth to concede more ground. "I think we tried to be aggressive in the beginning, and obviously it didn't work out".
"I don't want to count off a podium next year but I think realistically it has to come under some circumstances, if it's a bit of a insane race like Baku 2016 or something".
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"It's not what we wanted today to get third".
In the first session of the day, Red Bull enjoyed a welcome return to the top of the timesheets after a few quiet races with Ricciardo and Verstappen securing a one-two for the team in the baking afternoon heat.
"It's so hard to overtake here, " Hamilton said. Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull finished sixth after starting from the same position while Fernando Alonso improved to seventh in the McLaren after starting 11th. "There will be more to come".
Verstappen was mere inches behind Hamilton as they rounded Turn 9 but the Briton stayed ahead and quickly re-asserted an authority that he never relinquished. Verstappen held position, Vettel dropping to third.
The team principal, Toto Wolff, called it he best he had seen and with track position on the narrow street circuit paramount it was crucial.
Time is running out for Vettel, who realistically has to win in Russian Federation in two weeks' time if he is to get back into title contention.