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Vettel Back on Top in Suzuka

October 10, 2010

Sebastian Vettel led from pole to take an important win in today’s Japanese Grand Prix to edge him closer to Mark Webber in the bid for the world championship, while first corner collisions saw the end to several drivers’ races, and Lewis Hamilton continued to have problems as after a troublesome weekend, his brand new gearbox lost third gear.

After qualifying was postponed to the morning of the race, Vettel and teammate Webber locked out the front row of the grid, and pretty much stayed where they were. At the start, Robert Kubica, who started third, split the Red Bulls, but after Vitaly Petrov and Nico Hulkenberg’s collision straight off the start, and Felipe Massa and Vitantonio Liuzzi’s coming together at the first corner, the safety car was deployed for five laps, and by lap three, Kubica had lost his right rear wheel, and he was forced to pull over at the hairpin.

The Red Bulls were then left in their own race, while a good start for Lewis meant he was able to make up for starting eighth after a five-place grid-drop penalty for changing his gearbox, and he was soon into fifth behind Fernando Alonso and teammate Jenson Button.

The safety car returned to the pits at the end of lap six, and Vettel was leading from Webber, Alonso, Button and Hamilton. By lap 23 Hamilton became the first of the front-runners to pit, and the McLaren team were hoping to get him out in clear air in order for him to put in some fast laps to get closer to Alonso and a potential podium, but when he exited the pits in seventh, he found himself behind Kamui Kobayashi and in dirty air. However, within a few laps he was able to get into the slipstream of the BMW Sauber, and he passed him down into turn one.

Button, who had taken a gamble on the harder compound tyre to start the race on, took the lead as the leaders pitted, but was unable to pull out enough of a gap to ensure he remained ahead of Hamilton after his stop. Hamilton had put in some fast laps to get ahead of his teammate, but he soon ran into difficulty, and after it became apparent he had lost third gear, he started slipping back into Button’s clutches, and had to hand over fourth.

On lap 49, after the two Mercedes drivers had spent some time fighting over sixth, Nico Rosberg crashed out into the wall at turn five, after what appeared to be a failure of his left rear wheel. With just five laps to go, it looked like the safety car would have to be deployed, but the marshals were able to remove the car from the side of the track, and in the meantime, Kobayashi gave us some on-track action as he made a move on Barrichello, and a lap later passed teammate Nick Heidfeld to take seventh position.

Vettel took his third win of the season, leading home Webber for a Red Bull one-two, with Alonso in third. Button took fourth, while Hamilton finished fifth to take his first points since the Belgian Grand Prix. Schumacher finished sixth, with Kobayashi in seventh, Heidfeld eighth, Barrichello ninth and Sebastien Buemi in tenth, the last of the points-scorers. Jaime Alguersuari, Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto finished 11th to 16th, respectively, each having been lapped at least once. As well as Rosberg, Kubica, Hulkenberg, Massa, Petrov and Liuzzi’s retirements, Adrian Sutil also failed to finish the race, following engine failure, while Lucas di Grassi failed to start the race after crashing his Virgin on the way to the grid.

In the drivers’ standings, Webber edges even further ahead on 220 points, with Vettel and Alonso both on 206 points, and Hamilton and Button on 192 and 189 points each. 31 points now separate the top five. In the constructors’ standings, Red Bull are 45 points ahead of McLaren.

The next race is in Korea in two weeks time, with qualifying on Saturday 23rd October, and the race on Sunday 24th.

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2 comments

  1. It was really disappointing to see Hamilton wanting to give his best but not able to in the last few laps due to the gearbox problem, had the problem not emerged Alonso would certainly have had a run for his money. The championship seems to be almost over for the Mclarens, even the Constructors title seems to be running away from them, the season began on an optimistic note for them with decent amount of success but the championship dream has more or less ended on a tame note.It felt like they could do better but luck did not favor them, especially like the Singapore Hamilton crash, commentators have gone to say that it was that crash which resulted in this weekend’s gearbox failure,sad turn of events.


  2. […] After qualifying was postponed to the morning of the race, Vettel and teammate Webber locked out the front row of the grid, and pretty much stayed where they were. At the start, Robert Kubica, who started third, split the Red Bulls, but after Vitaly Petrov and Nico Hulkenberg’s collision straight off the start, and Felipe Massa and Vitantonio Liuzzi’s coming together at the first corner, the safety car was deployed for five laps, and by lap three, Kubica had lost his right rear wheel, and he was forced to pull over at the hairpin… More […]



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