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    IN WORDS: Lewis & Valtteri's Japan Debrief Our drivers talk making str...

Our drivers talk making strides and applying pressure after finishing 1-2 in Suzuka

Following on from scoring victory at Suzuka, Lewis stressed how appreciative and proud he is of the team's work, but also urged us to take a second to sit back and acknowledge what we have achieved so far this season.

"I just feel very, very proud of our performance," he said. "We stayed on course with our plan, we have kept continuing to deliver at the strength and pace that we have for a while now.

"I said to everyone, 'I hope you guys feel you perform at your best because I feel we really are and take note of that and sit back for a second'.

"We are in the debrief and rush off to the next thing, or back to the factory and on to the next race. It's difficult to take a second to really acknowledge all the great work that individually we are doing but also collectively as well.

"Naturally, of course, if you see the people you are competing with, it's a marathon not a sprint.

"When you are running, when you are training, and I have been in races as a kid doing cross country for example, and you just run out of stamina for whatever reason... that's what we seem to have.

"The stamina this year. That's a good thing."

The strides we have made in recent races have been down to various different things coming together and starting to click, according to Valtteri.

It's not always easy, of course, but it's all about trying to iron out mistakes and areas of weakness, something our Finn believes we did well in Japan to secure a 1-2 finish.

"For me, it feels like we have just been able to step-by-step improve everything," he said. "Once all the areas are getting better, the car getting better, the team operating better, everything just starts to click and come together.

"It's been very nice to be a part of this. How efficient the team can be in the race weekend, especially in tricky conditions, you see the result.

"Of course, we are still humans, we can make mistakes, but we are trying to absolutely minimise any mistakes and I think this weekend we did a good job in that respect.

"The car has been getting better each race weekend and that comes from all the work in the race team and all the flat-out work in the factories.

"We wouldn't be in this position without thousands of people pushing everything they have. It's been impressive. The competition has motivated even more."

His win in Japan moves Lewis 67 points clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers' Championship.

But, even with his advantage, Lewis knows from past experience that you can't rest on your laurels while the titles are still undecided.

"That part is easy for me because I am very, very strict, not being complacent with our position," he said, when asked how he keeps his feet on the ground.

"There are still 100 points available. I know we still have to continue to do the job we are doing now.

"I believe right until the last flag. That's the goal. Knowing from past experiences, so much can happen.

"I will be in the factory on Monday once I am back, part of the focus is on things that I wish for them to refocus for next year's car.

"But, then, also how we can continue to extract more from this car. There are still areas that can be improved."

Valtteri's strong drive to second place wasn't without difficulty over the race weekend, after trying out a variety of different set-up tweaks and changes in practice.

Third practice was particularly tricky, but he moved back to a previous set-up for Qualifying and this served him much better for the remainder of the weekend.

"It was quite difficult, trying different things with the set-up," he explained. "Practice 3 especially was not ideal, with some pretty big things like different steering column settings and stuff like that.

"They didn't work out, so I went back to something with the steering for Qualifying and it was a lot better.

"I felt the pace was good. In Q3, it was just one lap and Lewis had a better one, as I had a couple of lock-ups. I know I could've done a similar time on the second run, so I was not concerned.

"But honestly, after the race start I knew we had to come out with a perfect result. My job was to bring a 1-2 home for us and that's what I did."

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