Daniel Ricciardo is aiming to win the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix for the second year in a row.
The gap between the two is the biggest it has been all year and Hamilton will not need to win another race this year to clinch his fourth title if he triumphs on Sunday with Vettel lower than second.
Ferrari does not have the quickest auto at most circuits, despite what Hamilton often claims, and Vettel knew he needed to absolutely maximise his result at a place where Ferrari was unquestionably strong, and Mercedes particularly weak.
Hamilton and Mercedes have only won at Sepang once, in comparison to Ferrari - who have dominated in Malaysia with seven wins, and four to Vettel.
Wolff then added in the team principals' press conference: "It is certainly one of the worst Fridays I can remember".
"To be honest I don't know if we're going to miss it", said Raikkonen. "It's been very tight the whole season", he said.
"They are taking away the toughest, if not the toughest race of the season", Hamilton said.
"I have worked hard to prepare for this and to get to F1".
"I want to win - very clearly".
Speaking about the issue ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, Hamilton said he supports the National Football League players and believes athletes should feel free to use their sports to express political beliefs.
"Valtteri afterwards actually came and said to me he didn't expect me to let him back past".
Vettel will look to strike back on a track where alongside Schumacher he has the best record of any driver, with four victories.
"In any case, a lack of practice time often makes the race more interesting, and that would certainly suit us".
Turn 10 to 14 isn't going to serve up any chances as just like the earlier section it is mid-speed with only one line, but the long run and DRS to the final turn 15 gives an opportunity to make one last dive before the line.
"The Malaysia GP has given us many moments of drama and glory over the years. I've been struggling with the auto today, so we have to review and try to understand where we have gone wrong with the balance", said Hamilton. Hamilton's lone Malaysian success came in 2014. He has finished in the top 5 in all but two races this year.
"Looking at it now there has been one race where we didn't finish, and certainly it didn't help that it was the one race where Lewis scored a lot of points, but that's the way it goes".
At around 7/5 we think this is a very decent bet.
More significantly, Vettel was six tenths faster than anyone else was able to run in the afternoon. "Just that it has become more hard".
He said: "Everything went smoothly, not too bad".
I'm not fussed about the amount of points. He has such a point to prove now and the Renault might just like this circuit, even in the wet.