Lewis Hamilton has predicted Red Bull will be "phenomenal" at Suzuka as F1's leading constructor aims to bounce back from a disappointing Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
The Milton Keynes-based outfit had secured a victory in every race of the campaign before the visit to Marina Bay, where the RB19 failed to find a working window as both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez failed to reach Q3.
Championship leader Verstappen was able to recover to take fifth in the race as questions began to be raised over the influence of the FIA latest technical directive concerning flexi-wings on Red Bull's performance.
This has been denied by Team Principal Christian Horner, though a repeat of the struggles experienced in Singapore at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix would raise eyebrows given the team's dominance over its rivals thus far.
But predicting a quick return to form, Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.com: "I would think that if they are not 30 seconds ahead like they have done in the past... they had a difficult weekend at the last one but their car should be phenomenal here.
"They have been phenomenal all year long with pace at pretty much every circuit and it is going to be great to watch that car in general.
"Normally, when we come here, it's so beautiful to watch the laps that they do because the team as a whole and the drivers do an amazing job with the package they have.
"I hope we can be closer and I hope they are not as fast as the 30-second gap."
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Hamilton finished third in Singapore after a late-race charge on fresher tyres compared to front-two finishers in Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and McLaren's Lando Norris.
Mercedes would have finished three and four had George Russell not crashed on the final lap and asked whether the being the fastest car on track last weekend offered optimism for Suzuka, Hamilton replied: "I don't know whether that was really the case - Carlos was managing at the front and we were all relatively close at the front.
"But what a great race it was, just to have us all that close up front.
"This weekend, I don't anticipate having the performance we had at the last race but we will work very hard to continue to try and push the envelope that we have.
"So I am hoping that we're not terribly far off this weekend."