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Vettel Wins In Japan But Title Must Wait

posted 13 Oct 2013, 08:40 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 13 Oct 2013, 08:40 ]

Sebastian Vettel wins in Japan for fourth time in five years while Fernando Alonso finishes fourth to keep title race open until India.

SUZUKA, JAPAN (OCTOBER 13, 2013) (FOM) -  Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday (October 13) but was made to wait for his fourth successive Formula One title after Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished fourth.

The 26-year-old German's fourth win at Suzuka in the last five years left him with a lead of 90 points over Alonso with four races, and a maximum 100 points, remaining. The next Grand Prix is in India on Oct. 27.

Vettel's Australian team mate Mark Webber, who had started on pole position, finished 7.1 seconds behind in a Red Bull one-two with Frenchman Romain Grosjean taking third place for Lotus on a sunny afternoon at the Honda-owned track.

Webber always knew he was going to have a battle on his hands with his team mate but it was Grosjean who seized the lead with a storming start from fourth while both Red Bull drivers were slow to react.

Vettel made contact with Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, with the Briton first suffering a puncture that sent him to the back of the field and then retiring.

Vettel took the lead for the first time on lap 13 after Grosjean and Webber had pitted. The lead changed between the three over the race according to pitstops with Webber making his final stop 11 laps before the finish.

The Australian had hoped to claw back the deficit but could not get past Grosjean until the penultimate lap, by which time Vettel was nine seconds clear and out of reach.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth for Lotus with Nico Hulkenberg sixth in the Sauber.

Sauber's Mexican Esteban Gutierrez became the first rookie driver to score a point this season with seventh place for Sauber.

Nico Rosberg put some points on the board for Mercedes, who slipped further behind Ferrari in third place in the championship, with Britain's Jenson Button ninth for McLaren. Ferrari's Felipe Massa was 10th.

Grosjean was pleased with his performance, after taking Mark Webber out of the Japanese circuit in the first lap in 2012.

"Much better than last year for sure. What a start, terrific.Today was a very, very good race. The car was fantastic, the option tyre to start the race with and we did managed to pull away. Then I I think the Red Bulls catched us a little bit but generally what a work we did. We were the only one to be able to follow those guys. I almost 'catched the bull' I said to my engineers today but yeah, it is a home race for my engineers and I think he is up here, always good to come here."

Webber, who is retiring at the end of the season, said he would had be happier with victory and the outcome was better for his teammate and runaway championship leader Vettel.

"The race today was pretty good I would say. Obviously, I would like one more step on the podium but you know there was a different strategy going on."

"Seb (Sebastian Vettel) went longer in the first stint and then unloaded his race a bit better than mine at the end. So, in general, pretty happy with second but yeah, you always want a bit more but we got the best out of what I could today."

It was Vettel's fifth win in a row, ninth in 15 races this season and 35th of his career but the German acknowledged things did not look well for him at the beginning.

. "I had a very, very poor start. I think it was right between Romain (Grosjean) and I think Lewis (Hamilton) and I clipped a little bit the front wing. I think Lewis had a puncture after that. I could not go anywhere but after that we were patient enough, looked after the tyres and had incredible pace towards the end so we managed to get past Romain, beat Mark (Webber) on another strategy so all in all fantastic," said the German.


Result from the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix

1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 1:26:49.301

2. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault +00:07.129

3. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 00:09.910

4. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 00:45.605

5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - Renault 00:47.325

6. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 00:51.615

7. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 01:11.630

8. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 01:12.023

9. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 01:20.821

10. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 01:29.263

11. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes 01:38.572

12. Jean-Eric Vergne (FranceToro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap

13. Daniel Ricciardo (AustraliaToro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap

14. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1 lap

15. Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1 lap

16. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault 1 lap

17. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - Renault 1 lap

18. Charles Pic (France) Caterham - Renault 1 lap

19. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Cosworth 1 lap

r. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 46 laps

r. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Cosworth 53 laps

r. Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham - Renault 53 laps

(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)

Fastest Lap: Mark Webber,1:34.587, lap 44.


Driver and constructor standings after the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix

Drivers Points

1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 297

2. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 207

3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 177

4. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 161

5. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 148

6. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 126

7. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 90

8. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 87

9. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 60

10. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber 39

11. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 36

12. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 26

13. Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 23

14. Daniel Ricciardo (AustraliaToro Rosso 18

15. Jean-Eric Vergne (FranceToro Rosso 13

16. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 6

17. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1

18. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 0

19. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia 0

20. Charles Pic (France) Caterham 0

21. Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham 0

22. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 0


Constructors Points

1. RedBull - Renault 445

2. Ferrari 297

3. Mercedes 287

4. Lotus - Renault 264

5. McLaren 83

6. Force India - Mercedes 62

7. Sauber - Ferrari 45

8. Toro Rosso - Ferrari 31

9. Williams - Renault 1

10. Marussia - Cosworth 0

11. Caterham - Renault 0