Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix in dominant fashion to move to within four points of the lead of the drivers’ championship with five races remaining.
The defending world champion led the race from start to finish, securing his third race win at Suzuka in four years, his 24th career victory in F1 and the 32nd for the Red Bull-Renault partnership.
Kimi Raikkonen brought his Lotus home in sixth position for eight valuable points, maintaining his third position in the drivers’ title race, 37 points behind leader Fernando Alonso and 33 behind Vettel. Raikkonen moved up one position on his grid slot, keeping clear of a first-lap accident, and battled with Lewis Hamilton for fifth until the Briton eventually got past following the second round of pit stops. Raikkonen’s teammate, Romain Grosjean, was involved in an accident at the first corner and lost a lap when he returned to the pits for a nose change. He later served a 10 second stop-go penalty for his part in the accident, but regained ground to P14. He however later retired on the final lap.
Williams' Pastor Maldonado finished in eighth position after a solid race; his first points of the year since his win in Barcelona in May. Maldonado finished two seconds ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, who was caught in the mêlée at the first corner. The Australian pitted and rejoined at the back of the pack but made just one stop for tyres to regain position.
Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov gave Caterham a double finish with 15th and 17th positions respectively.
Red Bull Racing extends its lead in the constructors’ championship with 324 points to McLaren’s 283 and Ferrari’s 263. Lotus F1 Team is fourth with 239 points. Williams is eighth, 23 points behind Force India. Caterham is 11th.
Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations
"Congratulations to Sebastian for being the first back-to-back winner of races this year and getting right back into the title race. As always, we will work with Red Bull to give maximum performance without compromising reliability and give Sebastian the best chance of challenging for the lead in the final races of the year. We had a KERS issue on Vitaly’s car, which we will look into, but otherwise it has been a solid weekend. Winning at Suzuka, with a further three engines in the points, is a positive result for Renault Sport F1. The circuit puts a great deal of pressure on the engine, particularly the Esses that subject the internals to high lateral g-forces, while the second half of the circuit is spent at 90 percent throttle. Getting a good result this weekend is a great fillip for everyone at the factory and trackside after a tough few weeks and we can now focus positively on Korea in just a week’s time."