Japanese GP - Sunday - Race Notes
Vettel dominates Japanese GP
Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull-Renault 1-2 finish ahead of his team mate Mark Webber by 0.9 seconds, tp take the victory at today's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, followed by Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari in third place, 2.7 seconds behind.
The win is Vettel's third victory of the season, and Red Bull's seventh. Webber extends his championship lead to 220, 14 points over Alonso and Vettel, who are now tied with 206 points, Hamilton falls to fourth place with 192 points, and Jenson Button on 189 points. Red Bull-Renault leads the constructors championship with 426 points ahead of McLaren-Mercedes with 381 and Ferrari with 334 points.
Jenson Button (13.5s) in the McLaren-Mercedes finished in fourth, followed by his team mate Lewis Hamilton (39.5s), with an ailing gearbox in fifth, Michael Schumacher (59.9s) in the Mercedes GP in sixth, Kamui Kobayashi (64.0s) in the BMW Sauber-Ferrari finishing his home Grand Prix in seventh, his team mate Nick Heidfeld (69.6s) in eighth, Rubens Barrichello (70.8s) in the Williams-Cosworth in ninth, and Sebastien Buemi (72.8s) in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari in the final points paying position.
Before the start, coming around to the grid, Lucas di Grassi crashes his Virgin-Cosworth at the 130R corner - the Brazilian emerging unhurt, explaining that he felt something break at the back of the car.
At the start Vettel jumps to the lead from pole-position - Robert Kubica in the Renault passing Webber for second into the first corner, followed by Alonso in fourth. Vitaly Petrov, clipping the front of Nico Hulkenberg, and then pirouetting around the front of the Williams, spearing off into the outside wall on the pit straight - both are out of the race. Massa gets squeezed to the inside at the first corner, gets onto the grass and slides wide, hitting Vitantonio Liuzzi - taking both out of the race. The Safety Car is deployed.
Rosberg, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock and Bruno Senna all pit at the end of the first lap.
On lap 3, behind the Safety Car, Kubica's right-rear tyre goes missing at the hairpin and the Pole pulls off the track from second place.
The running order is Vettel leading Webber, Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Barrichello, Schumacher, Heidfeld, Adrian Sutil and Jaime Alguersuari in tenth.
Button complains of brake vibrations. The Safety Car remains out as Kubica's car is removed. Hamilton has the same complaint about his brakes - the team tells the drivers that it will go away when the race resumes.
At the end of lap 6 the Safety Car pulls in, and the race goes green, Vettel stays in the lead over Webber and Alonso.
On lap 8, Nico Rosberg passes Buemi at the 130R for 12th place, but then goes wide and Buemi re-passes. Schumacher passes Barrichello for sixth place at the chicane. Vettel sets fastest lap.
At lap 10, Vettel continues to push out his lead over Webber to 1.5 seconds, followed by Alonso (4.4s), Button (6.0s), Hamilton (6.7s), Schumacher (9.3s), Barrichello (11.5s), Heidfeld (12.7s), Sutil (13.2s) and Alguersuari (14.0s) in tenth place.
Webber sets fastest lap, but Vettel responds and retakes it the next lap - the Red Bulls running in the 1m36s, Alonso and the McLarens in the 1m37s.
On lap 13 Kobayashi passes Alguersuari for tenth place as they enter the hairpin, the two making minor contact.
On lap 15 Sakon Yamamoto goes slightly wide and Trulli passes him for 15th place.
On lap 18 Kobayashi passes Sutil into the hairpin to take ninth place. At the end of the lap Heidfeld and Sutil are the first to pit.
The stewards announce that the investigate the incidents at the start between Hulkenberg and Petrov, and also Massa and Liuzzi.
On lap 20 Barrichello pits from seventh place, switching to the prime tyre - he rejoins in 12th.
At lap 21, Vettel continues to lead Webber by 2.3 seconds, followed by Alonso (8.1s), Button (12.4s), Hamilton (13.7s), Schumacher (20.8s), Kobayashi (32.2s) and Buemi (37.2s) in eighth place - Alguersuari pits from ninth.
On lap 22 Hamilton pits from fifth place, switching to the prime tyre, rejoining in seventh behind Kobayashi. Schumacher pits from fifth place on the next lap - rejoining behind his team mate Rosberg in ninth place.
On lap 25 Vettel pits from the lead and Alonso pits as well - rejoining in third and fourth places. Hamilton passes Kobayashi into the first corner to take fifth place.
On lap 26, at half distance, Webber pits from the lead, rejoining in third place behind his team mate. Hamilton sets the fastest lap. Button, yet to pit, takes over the lead.
On lap 27 Schumacher threatens his team mate Rosberg for eighth place place, but Rosberg stays ahead. The Mercedes team tells Schumacher that there are no team orders, but that Rosberg knows to be sensible if Schumacher makes a move on him.
On lap 29 Alonso sets fastest lap. Buemi pits from seventh place.
At lap 30, Button, who was the only car amongst the leaders to start on prime tyres and has still not made his first stop, leads Vettel by 2.9 seconds, followed by Webber (5.1s), Alonso (10.9s), Hamilton (16.3s), Kobayashi (26.7s) yet to pit, Rosberg (35.1s), Schumacher (35.6s), Heidfeld (38.6s) and Barrichello (42.3s) in tenth place.
On lap 33 Yamamoto pits.
On lap 35 Hamilton sets fastest lap. Kovalainen pits on the next lap from 14th place.
On lap 39 Button pits from the lead, rejoining in fifth place on soft tyres. Kobayashi pits from sixth place and rejoins in 12th place. Vettel sets fast lap.
On lap 40 Hamilton reports to his team that he has lost third gear.
At lap 40 Vettel leads Webber by 2.0 seconds, followed by Alonso (4.2s) in third, Hamilton (10.6s), Button (17.1s), Rosberg (40.1s), Schumacher (40.3s), Heidfeld (42.4s), Barrichello (45.5s) and Sutil (47.2s) in tenth place.
Button sets fastest lap - the first in the 1m34s range.
Hamilton, with his lap times suffering, falls into the clutches of his team mate Button.
On lap 44, Button passes his team mate for fourth place. Kobayashi passes Alguersuari on the outside of the hairpin for tenth place - the to battle, making minor contact. Sutil's Mercedes engine is smoking, he spins in the 130R corner, and then pits. Alguersuari pits as well. Kobayashi's sidepod showing some damage.
On lap 46 Button sets fastest lap in the 1m33s. The top three positions covered by less than five seconds. Kobayashi closes on Barrichello in ninth.
On lap 49 Rosberg's left rear tyre comes off, and the German spins into the tyre wall from sixth place, the driver getting out of the car unhurt. Kobayashi passes Barrichello for eighth place.
On lap 50 Kobayashi passes his team mate Heidfeld for seventh place into the hairpin.
At lap 50 Vettel leads Webber by 1.9 seconds, followed by Alonso (3.8s), Button (15.3s), Hamilton (29.5s), Schumacher (56.4s), Kobayashi (62.5s), Heidfeld (65.9s), Barrichello (66.5s) and Buemi (69.9s) in tenth place.
On lap 51 Vettel sets fastest lap.
Mark Webber sets fastest lap on the final lap, but Vettel holds on to take the victory.