Sebastian Vettel is confident he will be able to catch championship leader Fernando Alonso without the Spaniard retiring from any of the remaining races.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner described Alonso's consistency this year as "an annoyance" to his team, as the Ferrari driver has managed to score points in all but one race and has been on the podium eight times despite the lack of competitiveness of his car at some of the events.
Vettel is currently 29 points behind Alonso with six races to go.
"Obviously I don't want misfortunes to hit others. We are confident and we believe that we can do it on the track," said Vettel on Thursday at Suzuka.
"I was confident in the last race, for example, that we had a similar pace to Lewis [Hamilton], but it would have been difficult to overtake him on track. But you never know. There he retired and we took first position.
"But for the next races we have to focus on ourselves and whatever happens, happens. Obviously we are currently behind, so if none of us scores, we stay behind, so we need to make sure to finish the races and score a lot of big points."
Vettel, a two-time winner at Suzuka, is optimistic he can enjoy another strong weekend in Japan, although he concedes it will be very close up in front.
"Historically this is a circuit that we used to like and we have always been very competitive around here, so I think we should have a good weekend," he said. "But we've seen this year that in fast corners we are struggling a little bit more than in the past.
"Obviously there are a lot of fast and medium-speed corners around this track so we'll see. It will be extremely tight because I think there's a couple of cars that struggle a bit more in the lower-speed corners.
"The Sauber should be very strong this weekend. It's no secret that they have a very good car with a lot of downforce. Sometimes it's a bit of a surprise to see them so far back after having been very strong."
- Fernando Alonso
- Sebastian Vettel
- Christian Horner