Sebastian Vettel says his crash in this morning's opening practice session at Suzuka was a reminder that he must not lose his focus despite being on the verge of celebrating his second title.
The Red Bull driver hit the barriers at the Degner Two corner near the end of the morning session, although the damage to his car was minimal. Vettel said, however, that the crash showed he must not starting thinking about celebrating his title, but rather about doing the best job possible.
"I had a good reminder this morning in practice not to start thinking about something else," said Vettel of his crash. "I think it was not really a big mistake. It was maybe at that moment I was not 100 percent awake, and mistakes around here can be quite costly. I went off and tried to come back, tried to slow the car down as much as possible but didn't make it and hit the wall slightly.
"It was not a big impact but it did some damage the car. It's not perfect and it did affect our run plan a little bit, but I think we had a solid afternoon.
"It is pretty tricky this year on this tires, the cars generally are a bit more alive, so when I stopped I had the opportunity to watch some of the cars and for Suzuka you can see they are much more alive than they used to be. On Sunday, it will be quite interesting."
Vettel finished the afternoon session as third quickest, but his long-race pace suggests the German is still favorite for pole and for the race win.
Teammate Mark Webber was fourth quickest after enjoying a trouble-free day, the Australian hoping for a strong result this weekend even though he knows it will be impossible to delay Vettel's title celebrations.
"I will be racing as I want to. I want to get the best result possible for myself and the guys, and we are still here to race," he said.
"Obviously it is a big weekend for Seb closing up the championship, which is virtually inevitable, but in the end we still have some good races to come. McLaren and Ferrari are not slow, so we need to work hard and there is a battle to be closed and other battles still going on, of course."