Vettel wins Japanese GP to become first back to back winner in 2012!

Fernando Alonso’s world drivers championship lead has been slashed to just four points as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel capitalised on Alonso’s retirement by winning the Japanese GP in dominant fashion; his nearest rival, Felipe Massa finishing the race 20 seconds behind. Outside the championship race, driver of the day was Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, who finished the race on the podium in front of his adoring Japanese crowd, holding off Jenson Button in the closing laps!

The two Lotus drivers were in the thick of the action into turns one and two; Kimi Raikkonen squeezing Alonso into turn one, his front wing puncturing Alonso’s right rear tyre tipping the Spaniard into a spin and out of the race. It was then Romain Grosjean’s turn to play the villain, piling into Mark Webber while trying to fend off the Sauber of Sergio Perez. Grosjean was slapped with a 10 second stop/go penalty for his collision with Webber. Going into turn two, Williams’ Bruno Senna clattered into Nico Rosberg sending the German out of the race and Senna served a drive-through penalty for this incident. In the meantime, Kobayashi moved up into second place and Button drove around the outside of all the carnage to make up five places to move into third place!

The first lap incidents brought out the safety car, but the safety car period as very short, only out for two laps, which caught out the recovering Webber, who pitted for a safety check and a fresh set of tyres, the Aussie finding himself 20 seconds behind the pack when the safety car came in.

The only other 3 incidents of note were, Perez’ overtake of Hamilton on lap six, diving up the inside of the hairpin, a-la-Kobayashi but when attempting the same move on lap 19, Hamilton covered the line leaving Perez hung out on the outside with an end result of the Sauber being beached in the kitty litter! The other incident, also involving Hamilton, the Briton came out of the pits and robustly defended his position against Raikkonen, keeping his foot in, pushing the Finn wide.

Absolutely brilliant result for Ferrari and Felipe Massa after the disappointment of Alonso’s first corner retirement; the Brazilian claiming second spot after leapfrogging both Kobayashi and Button in the first round of pit stops, I’m really happy for Massa, he’s such a nice guy and been under immense pressure from Maranello, hopefully this’ll secure his drive with Ferrari for 2013.

Button came close to taking third in the end, within the one second needed to activate DRS but couldn’t get into a position to make a move on the Japanese. Team mate Lewis Hamilton finished the race where he started, right behind Button, albeit four places further up the road in fifth place. Raikkonen finished in sixth, Nico Hulkenberg in seventh after his gearbox change, Pastor Maldonado scored his first points since his win in Spain, finishing in eighth, Mark Webber claimed two points for ninth with a great recovery drive and Daniel Ricciardo claimed the final point!

Top 10 classified finishers at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka:

1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
3. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)
4. Jenson Button (McLaren)
5. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
8. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
9. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)

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