Sebastian Vettel wins 2012 Japanese GP: Only four points away from Fernando Alonso in drivers’ championship ratings

Sebastian Vettel was victorious in this past weekend Japanese Grand Prix wherein he cruised to victory. The 25 year old German racer was also successful…

Sebastian Vettel was victorious in this past weekend Japanese Grand Prix wherein he cruised to victory. The 25 year old German racer was also successful in Singapore which was held two weeks ago and became the first racer this year to score back to back wins as he slashed Fernando Alonso championship lead to just four points with five races left.

The Red Bull racer got off to an exciting start and sped away to win by more than 20 seconds ahead of Ferrari Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi who received his first podium finish. Vettel has five races remaining and trails Alonso 194 points to 190. Alonso of Ferrari was eliminated when Kimi Raikkonen at first corner suffered a puncture which resulted in Alonso skidding.

This confusion saw Vettel out in the front racing to his victory and 24th of his career which has now made him level with Argentine Juan-Manuel Fangio in record books. The team’s performance sees Red Bull Racing now in the constructors’ championship lead with 324 points to McLaren’s 283 while Ferrari is on 263, Lotus on 239, Williams Team is eighth, 23 points behind Force India while Caterham Team is in 11th place.

Auto news release: Vettel wins in dominant style in Japan

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel won today’s 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 F1 Team E20 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 team-mate, 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 10secs stop-go penalty for his part in the accident, but regained ground to P14. He however later retired on the final lap.

Williams F1 Team’s 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 F1 Team 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 F1 Team is eighth, 23 points behind Force India. Caterham F1 Team is 11th.

Rémi 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% 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.

 Driver points after Suzuka race:

Pos Driver Nationality Team Points
1 Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari 194
2 Sebastian Vettel German Red Bull Racing-Renault 190
3 Kimi Räikkönen Finnish Lotus-Renault 157
4 Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes 152
5 Mark Webber Australian Red Bull Racing-Renault 134
6 Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes 131
7 Nico Rosberg German Mercedes 93
8 Romain Grosjean French Lotus-Renault 82
9 Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari 69
10 Sergio Perez Mexican Sauber-Ferrari 66
11 Kamui Kobayashi Japanese Sauber-Ferrari 50
12 Paul di Resta British Force India-Mercedes 44
13 Michael Schumacher German Mercedes 43
14 Nico Hulkenberg German Force India-Mercedes 37
15 Pastor Maldonado Venezuelan Williams-Renault 33
16 Bruno Senna Brazilian Williams-Renault 25
17 Jean-Eric Vergne French STR-Ferrari 8
18 Daniel Ricciardo Australian STR-Ferrari 7
19 Timo Glock German Marussia-Cosworth 0
20 Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Caterham-Renault 0
21 Vitaly Petrov Russian Caterham-Renault 0
22 Jerome D’Ambrosio Belgian Lotus-Renault 0
23 Charles Pic French Marussia-Cosworth 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan Indian HRT-Cosworth 0
25 Pedro de la Rosa Spanish HRT-Cosworth 0