Sebastian Vettel beat Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean in an amazing trio to win the Japanese Grand Prix. The win takes his 85 points clear off Fernando Alonso at the top of the driver standings.
Mark Webber finished in second place to complete a Red Bull one-two.The pole sitter lost the lead to fast starter Romain Grosjean at the start but managed to keep teammate Sebastian Vettel at bay for the first stint. He then made his intentions of a three stop strategy clear by pitting as early as lap 12. He made his subsequent stops on lap 25 and 42 and came out five seconds behind Romain Grosjean. Webber didn't have the answer to Lotus' superior traction out of the final corner(which leads to the DRS zone) and it took Webber took too long to overtake Grosjean and subsequently put a fight to Vettel.
While Mark Webber was having his own race, loads of strategic decisions were made on the Grosjean's side of Lotus garage and Vettel's side of Red Bull garage. Grosjean initially covered Webber's early stop by pitting on lap 13 but had to stretch his second stint on a used set of hard tyres to complete the race on a two stop strategy. Vettel, meanwhile managed his tyres from the start and stick to a two stop strategy(He pitted on lap 15 and 37 respectively). During the second stint, Vettel was able to close down the gap to Grosjean and when he made his final stop, he was easily able to get past the Frenchman.
Fernando Alonso had a decent afternoon at Suzuka with a fourth place finish. The Spaniard spent considerable laps behind Nico Hulkenberg before finally getting past the German. Kimi Raikkonen also put on late move over Hulkenberg to finish in fifth place. However, with this result, he no longer has a mathematical chance of winning the championship.
Esteban Gutierrez scored his first career points in Formula 1 by finishing in seventh place. Nico Rosberg took eighth at the chequered flag after serving a drive through penalty for an unsafe release in the pits.
Jenson Button and Felipe Massa had a great scrap for final two point finishes with Button coming out on top at the end of lap 53. Paul di Resta finished in 11th ahead of the Toro Rosso pair of Jean Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo. The latter had an eventual afternoon on a reverse two stop strategy but could only finish in 13th after he too had to take a drive through penalty for running while and gaining an advantage while trying to overtake Paul di Resta.
Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez were 14th and 15h ahead of the Williams duo of Pastor Maldonado and Valterri Bottas who nearly made contact at the chicane during the closing stages of the race.
Charles Pic was able to beat Max Chilton despite the latter starting higher up on the grid. Their teammates retired with a colission on the very first corner of the race.
Lewis Hamilton joined the retirement list after getting a puncture on the opening lap of the race. Hamilton made a great start from third and tried to get his car in the middle of the two Red Bulls. But in this process, he made contact with Vettel which brought a puncture to his right rear tyre. Hamilton leaped back to the pits for fresher rubber but retired a few laps later after the team found out that damage to the floor of his car was a bit too much.
So with his ninth victory of the season, Vettel is in touching distance of a fourth world title. He needs to finish in top five in India, irrespective of where Alonso finished in that race. We will be reporting live from the paddock at the Buddh International Circuit, so do join us in two weeks time. Also keep a track on our website as we analyse today's race in detail.