Jenson Button won the Japanese Grand Prix but it will be Sebastian Vettel who will be celebrating his second Drivers’ Championship as he finished third and ensured that he has an unassailable lead in the drivers’ tally. Fernando Alonso finished second in the race and managed to hold off Vettel behind him for the best part of the latter laps.
Mark Webber finished fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fifth, Michael Schumacher in sixth & Felipe Massa in seventh. Sergio Perez finished eighth ahead of Vitaly Petrov in ninth and Nico Rosberg took the last point in tenth, having started from the back of the grid!
It was never in doubt coming into Suzuka that barring a DNF, Vettel would sew up the WDC and the question was that whether he would do that with a resounding win or a careful points finish. At the start it surely seemed like the former as, having made a slower start as compared to Button, Vettel gradually eased Button towards the right of the track and onto the grass whilst maintaining his lead. As Button was seemingly forced off-track, Hamilton eased into second place and starting to hustle Vettel. BTW, Vettel was not penalised for his actions!
Hamilton was soon passed by Button and he further slipped down the order as a right-rear puncture meant an early pit stop for the McLaren. The order remained the same as the first round of pit stops shook down but at the second window of stops, Button managed to leap frog Vettel into the lead and held it till the end.
Sebastian Vettel continued his pole position dominance as he set the fastest time in the Saturday Qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Jenson Button tried hard to match or better Vettel’s time but he could only manage second fastest for McLaren whilst Lewis Hamilton failed to set a time in his second running but his initial time was good enough for him to finish third fastest.
Felipe Massa was P4 ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Michael Schumacher was P7 with Bruno Senna P8, Vitaly Petrov P9 and Kamui Kobayashi rounding off the top ten.
Pole position seemed going McLaren’s way as Hamilton had set the fastest time in the initial stages of Q1 and when the cars trundled out for their second stints on newer tyres, Hamilton dallied on his in-lap and couldn’t cross the start/finish line ahead of the chequered flag and hence could not better his initial time. That meant Vettel only had Button as a realistic competitor for the fastest time and as they finished their laps, the gap between them was only nine-thousandths of a second. Vettel had did it again…it was his fifteenth pole position this season.
Q1 had the local hero Kamui Kobayashi topping the timesheets for Sauber with Force India’s Adrian Sutil second – both of them on the faster soft tyre compound. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was third fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Vitaly Petrov. Jenson Button was sixth fastest with Vettel just behind him. But the name of the game in Q1 is to make it to the next session and the biggest casualty of that was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, who failed to notch a time due to a hydraulics problem and will start 23rd. Joining him at the tail end of the grid were the two Lotuses of Heikki Kovalainen & Jarno Trulli, the two Virgins of Timo Glock & Jerome d’Ambrosio and the two HRTs of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix from pole position at the Suzuka circuit and kept himself in the mix, albeit very slightly, in the championship battle. Jarno Trulli was jumped at the start by Lewis Hamilton but regained second place after the second round of pit stops and matched Toyota’s best showing this season as Hamilton settled for third place.
The Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen finished in 4th place ahead of the Williams of Nico Rosberg and the BMW of Nick Heidfeld who finished 5th and 6th respectively. Rubens Barrichello led teammate Jenson Button for the 7th and 8th place finishes and that reduces Button’s lead in the Championship battle to 14 points with two races remaining. Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso rounded off the top ten.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel grabbed pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in an incident filled Qualifying session which saw at least four drivers lose control of their cars and careened into the barriers. Toyota’s Jarno Trulli will start from P2 with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton P3. Force India had a resurgence of sorts with Adrian Sutil starting from P4 with the trailing Brawn of Rubens Barrichello beside him. Championship leader Jenson Button could only manage P7 with BMW’s Nick Heidfeld ahead of him. Kimi Raikkonen, Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastian Buemi round off the top ten.
The Qualifying was in Japan and it meant the telecast was early in the morning, as compared to in the evenings for European races; and the heavy sleeper that I was, missed it all! From the race reports, it seemed to be quite a tricky session as limited running on Friday meant most of the teams were still in the dark about race setups, car balance etc. The session was red flagged thrice as Timo Glock, Jaime Algersuari, Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastian Buemi all had spins and shunts. The most high-profile casualty was Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who crashed out in free practice and the team couldn’t complete the repairs on his car in time for him to participate in the Qualifying session. He will start from the pit lane for Sunday’s race.
You can go through the race reports at BBC Sport and Formula1.com websites as I go ahead and set the alarm clock for tomorrow’s race