Following the team orders, Hamilton won to extend his lead over Vettel to 50 points, but he admits he was not entirely comfortable receiving the accolades on the podium. "I'm a team player and I'm willing to help".
"I think I've said many times that we have a strong vehicle, but I don't think, against the people's opinions, that we had a dominant auto at any point this year", the German said.
"I'm definitely still allowed to win but it will all depend on the situation", he said.
Hamilton's advantage over Sebastian Vettel has grown from 14 to 50 points courtesy of his hat-trick of wins in Italy, Singapore and Russian Federation, the last of those a 1-2 finish for Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel possibly had good cause, given that the result meant his title chances had slipped further away. How, with 125 points still to play for, has this happened to the German driver and his team which have had a superior vehicle for most of the season? "Ideally two - which I'm not wishing on Lewis but you never know what happens".
Hamilton added that the recent Grands Prix have been a "dream experience" due to the level at which he and Mercedes have been operating.
"For sure in the statistics I don't have a win, but I know myself how I performed during the weekend and I feel like a victor from that race and that is what matters to me", he said. So dominant is Hamilton's position right now that he could still claim the title even if Vettel was to end the year on a five-race winning streak. "Winning is everything, but that time will come later". It's hard to know how much we've improved as opposed as they've stood still or they have gone backwards. "So unlike people watching football or any other sport, where everyone works towards that one goal, there's two goals here". It's a hard dynamic because the team works together to win the championship, but then they also want to win the drivers' championship, but only one of you can win, so they're conflicted as they don't want to favour either driver.
"I love the track, this is my favourite track in the world, so I better enjoy it and not spoil it by starting to count things that probably are against me and focus on the things that are working for me".
"Our understanding of the auto is continuing, in our understanding of the vehicle is where we are making the biggest steps".
"I don't like the now or never approach, I don't think there's much sense in that", Vettel said on Thursday in Japan.
"Like everyone, you naturally felt bad for Rubens because he did a great job and deserved the win".