Sebastian Vettle wrecked Fernando Alonso’s F1 world championship by leading the Japanese Grand Prix as Alonso retired due to the crash in the first lap.
The champion is now just 4 points behind with 5 races to go and has an edge with the momentum on his lane after the back to back victories.
Felipe Massa played some real game to get to the second place on the grid from 10th in his first podium finish ever in last two years.
But the real thrill for the home crowd was Kamui Kobayashi leading Jenson Button for his first F1 podium at third place by equaling the best ever finish for any Japanese driver.
Vettel’s 3rd Suzuka victory in four starts at the circuit come quite easy with the several probable challengers was knocked off in the hectic first lap.
The chaos began with the Kimi Raikkonen’s lotus and Alonso’s Ferrari banged their wheels during the run to the first corner. This caused quite a damage to the Ferrari, which was left spinning into the sand trap.
Kobayashi moved his Sauber between the Red Bulls off the line, but things turned quite worse when Romain Grosjean slid into Mark Webber at the second corner.
The Lotus driver tried to pick up front damaged wing and a 10 sec stop/go penalty, while Webber was spinner to back and needed pit stop for checking.
In the lure of the chain reaction unfolding behind, Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes clashed with Bruno Senna’s Williams. Once the safety car arrived, Vettle was free to lead the track with about 20s lead which led to the third victory of 2012.
Kobayashi held the second spot until his first pit stop, where both he and button was jumped over by Massa. Like Button, this Ferrari driver has also gained quite lot from the first lap mishap and once he got a lead on McLaren and Sauber, Massa was quite quick to pull it away.
Button tried hard to get ahead of Kobayashi but the slightly slow pit stop didn’t allow him get ahead of the local hero who managed to keep last year’s winner at bay. Lewis Hamilton had started quite valiantly in the second McLaren and managed to come fifth. He fell as a victim to the superb dive pass from McLaren substitute Serigo Perez in the first spell, the Sauber dropped behind in a failed attempt to pass Raikkonen at the first corner.
Hamilton got back on a lead to Perez at the first pit stops, and as he tried to react down at hairpin, Perez ran wide and spun to retirement.
McLaren then leapfrogged Raikkonen for the fifth spot during the second stop, evolving alongside the Lotus and tracking it down at the second turn despite of the momentum Raikkonen seems to have.
Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India chased Raikkonen to get to seventh spot which resisting the pressure being developed from Pastor Maldonado’s Williams.
Webber got back to ninth spot by pitting just once after his lap one stop.
Daniel Ricciardo made him as the second Australian in the points as Toro Rosso continued his resurgence. Ricciardo resisted Michael Schumacher to the finish line, thus preventing Mercedes from scoring any point this week.
The lap one chaos gave Caterham a chance as Heikki Kovalainen secured the eleventh spot, although he could not stay ahead of the forerunners.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS
The Japanese Grand Prix
53 laps; 307.471km;
Pos Driver Team Time
Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h28:56.242
Massa Ferrari + 20.639
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 24.538
Button McLaren-Mercedes + 25.098
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 46.490
Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 50.424
Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 51.159
Maldonado Williams-Renault + 52.364
Webber Red Bull-Renault + 54.675
Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:06.919
Schumacher Mercedes + 1:07.769
Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:23.400
Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:28.600
Senna Williams-Renault + 1:28.700
Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:35.774
Driver Team On lap
Pic Marussia-Cosworth 39
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 34
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 19
Alonso Ferrari 1
Rosberg Mercedes 1