Japanese Grand Prix 2013: Sebastian Vettel closes in on title with win
Japanese Grand Prix 2013: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel wins from team-mate Mark Webber, but must wait to seal fourth world title
Sebastian Vettel’s wait for a fourth straight Formula 1 world title continues – but he edged ever closer with a victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Vettel clearly loves Suzuka and of his 35 career wins, four in five years have come on this track, where the fanatical supporters treat him as one of their own.
Romain Grosjean stamped his authority of the race, the Lotus driver making a flying start to surge from fourth to first on the grid.
Vettel, despite his far from smooth start to the race, slowly started to impose himself, overtaking Grosjean with 12 laps remaining before nursing his tyres to his ninth chequered flag of the season.
“You’re the best team in the world, thanks a lot for bringing the car home, thanks boys. I love you,” Vettel told his pit crew over race radio.
And despite a valiant attempt Grosjean could not hold off the Red Bull charge, Mark Webber passing him to take second with just one lap to go.
Vettel’s closest title rival, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, claimed fourth but the 26-year old German now has a 92 point championship lead heading to the Indian Grand Prix, with just 100 points on the table.
But there was disappointment for Lewis Hamilton, who had started the race from third on the grid.
He suffered a first-lap puncture and the Mercedes driver was running last when he finally retired – his team saying data was showing abnormal readings and high rear brake temperatures.
“My guys worked so hard for this and I feel really sorry for them, it’s a shame,” he said.
“I had the best start I have had all year – such a good feeling, so really disappointed but that’s life.”
Japanese Grand Prix 2013: Race result
1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 53 laps 1hr 26m 49.301s
2. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 07.1s
3. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault +00m 09.9s
4. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 45.6s
5. Kimi Raikkonen Finand Lotus-Renault +00m 47.3s
6. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Sauber-Ferrari +00m 51.6s
7. Esteban Gutierrez Spain Sauber-Ferrari +01m 11.6s
8. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +01m 12.0s
9. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes +01m 20.8s
10. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +01m 29.2s
11. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes +01m 38.5s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
13. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
14. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
15. Sergio Perez Mexico McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
16. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault +1 lap
17. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Renault +1 lap
18. Charles Pic France Caterham-Renault +1 lap
19. Max Chilton Britain Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
Rtd Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes 7 laps completed
Rtd Giedo van der Garde Holland Caterham-Renault 0 laps completed
Rtd Jules Bianchi France Marussia-Cosworth 0laps completed