He quickly posed for some silly selfies and uploaded them onto three-time world champion Hamilton's account. The race was restarted on lap 3/53.
Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was the one to suffer engine problems last time out: the Finn did not even make it off the start-line in Malaysia due to a broken manifold in the engine. When the racing resumed, it became apparent his issue was something a lot more serious. The Spaniard, though, will start at the back after McLaren replaced his Honda power unit overnight, triggering a 35-place grid penalty for the double world champion.
He was sixth after the first lap and stayed out during a safety-car period following a crash by Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz - but after rapidly losing places again at the re-start after three laps was called into the pits a lap later.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said: "This is a sport where you take no prisoners and reliability is part of making it to the end and we have been there in the last few years".
"I think we will just try to continue to do what we are doing, of course, we want to look after the auto and the engine, but we are already doing that throughout the races. Of course it hurts and we're all disappointed but I think now we need to get back, get some rest and go flat-out for the last four races and see what happens".
With his title rival's hopes taking another hit at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton says he does not plan to change anything on his seemingly inexorable march to a fourth Formula One crown.
In practice what this means is that Ferrari have to accrue 17 more points than Mercedes in Austin to keep the title hunt alive.
"I just have to keep my head down and keep doing what I've been doing", Hamilton said.
"I could have only dreamed about having such a gap in the standings", said sn ecstatic Hamilton during the post-race podium interview. "Ferrari have put on such a great challenge all year long". My team has done a great job.
"A phenomenal job and reliability has really been on point".
Ricciardo took third place, a further eight seconds back, while Bottas recovered from his gearbox penalty on Saturday to finish fourth. While the VSc Period last from Lap 48-50, when the Canadian spun, he nearly collected Ricciardo along with him, who was approaching the same corner carrying unprecedented speed.
Ted Kravitz gave his thoughts on Sunday's action packed Japanese Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton finished ahead of Verstappen & Ricciardo. He could nab the drivers' title at the United States Grand Prix if he wins in Japan, and then wins in the United States if Vettel finishes sixth or worse there. It has been a changeling frame for Ferrari in Asia this season, with issues in Singapore and Malaysia prior to this race at Honda's Suzuka circuit. "So for sure we will look into everything if it could have been done better, but I understood the situation". The track was fantastic.
Max Verstappen had race victor Lewis Hamilton in his sights but was held up by back markers, forcing him to settle for second place at the Japanese Grand Prix. "It wasn't an easy one at all".
"The only positive is really that I'm closer to second place. Also the support we get really does help lift us up".
"I tried not to bother anyone". The first stint on the supersoft I was struggling a bit with the left front, but as soon as we switched to the soft tyre I was actually very competitive.