With the Red Bulls on pole for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, will Sebastian Vettel be able to take a win to keep his hopes of a title on track?
And Suzuka seems to be Vettel’s lucky talisman as Alonso hit Raikkonen at the first corner and put himself out of the race almost before its started. That stroke of luck for Vettel was good news for Red Bull, but Mark Webber didn’t fare too well with Romain Grosjean sticking his Lotus in to the back of Webber, leaving Webber at the pack of the pack.
Also on the first corner Nico Rosberg had a coming together with Bruno Senna in the Williams, putting the German’s Mercedes out of the race too,
With all the carnage going on behind, Vettel powered away and it seemed clear that the winner was already decided and it was all about who came second.
Surprisingly, that second place went to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa who managed to pass Kobayashi after the first pit stops, leaving third place a battle between Kobayashi and the McLaren of Jenson Button. In the end, Kobayashi pipped Jenson by half a second to take the podium in third place at his home Grand Prix.
Hamilton followed Jenson home in fifth place – 20 seconds behind his soon to be former team mate – Raikkonen took sixth, Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India seventh, Pastor Maldonado in the Williams eighth and Mark Webber, who drove from the back of the grid after the melee at the first corner, got in to the points in ninth.
The final points place was the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo who held off Michael Schumacher, and the man who will replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next year, Sergio Perez, ironically managed to put himself out of the race in an attempt to pass Hamilton. But he’ll find that a lot easier next year when he’s in the McLaren and Hamilton is chugging round in a Mercedes.
All the action at Suzuka has left Red Bull 42 points ahead of McLaren for the constructors’ championship and moved Vettel within 4 points of Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen is 37 points adrift, Lewis Hamilton 42, Mark Webber 60 and Jenson Button 63.
With five races to go the drivers’ their championship is now wide open.
Japanese GRAND PRIX 2012 RESULTS
- Vettel | Red Bull
- Massa | Ferrari
- Kobayashi | Sauver
- Button | McLaren
- Hamilton | McLaren
- Raikkonen | Lotus
- Hulkenberg | Force India
- Maldonado | Williams
- Webber | Red Bull
- Ricciardo | Torro Rosso