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Formula 1: Japan Grand Prix centre stage as Button drops retirement hint

Jenson Button has dropped a bombshell ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix after he hinted that he could retire at the end of this season, which has seen Mercedes dominate once again.

“My head knows but my mouth and tongue doesn’t know,” Button said. “The joy of being in the car is only there if you’re fighting at the front, because you feel like you’re achieving something.

Button, who is 7/2 with Coral to secure a points finish in Japan, continued: “If you’re fighting near the back, you’re driving an F1 car, but you can easily get joy driving something else. The joy you get is from competing. It’s about fighting at the front. It’s about the possibility of standing on top of the podium. That’s the joy of F1.”

Compatriot and former teammate Lewis Hamilton, though, is yet again the odds-on favourite at 8/11 to secure his eighth win of the season on a track he won on last year.

Ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton admitted that he is baffled by an apparent lack of speed with the Mercedes car, which appeared to have hampered him last time out, while teammate Nico Rosberg (10/3 to win) also expressed similar concerns.

“I don’t have any confidence. I don’t have any information to give me that confidence. I’m hoping it’s a one-off but it’s a very, very strange weekend to say the least,” Hamilton said.

“Our car has not got slower. I think some other people might have brought an upgrade package here. But that doesn’t explain it. I told my engineers I would like some information about what they think it was. But there’s not a lot of time before the next race.”

It was Sebastien Vettel, though secured his third win of the season in Singapore last time out. He is just eight points off second-placed Nico Rosberg in the standings on 203 points and is a genuine contender at 4/1 and well worth a punt.

Coral’s top tip: Vettel to win @ 4/1 with Coral