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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nothing decided as Vettel dominates in Japan

Sebastian Vettel kept his title hopes alive in Japan, keeping Lewis Hamilton’s KERS equipped McLaren and a surprising Jarno Trulli behind him both at the start and after a safety car to deliver his third win of the season.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Race

Trulli finished second after jumping Hamilton in the pits, the world champion finishing third.

The champaign remains on ice in the Brawn garage, as while the constructor’s title is almost assured, seventh for Rubens Barrichello and eighth for Jenson Button was not enough to seal it up. Brawn holds a 156-120.5 edge, that’s half a point shy off the title.

In the drivers championship, Button leads his teammate 85-71, while Vettel sits on 69 points with two to go.

After taking the lead from Trulli and Hamilton, Vettel settled into the lead and looked to be on track for an easy win. That changed when Jaime Alguersuari lost his Toro Rosso at 130R on the 44th lap, bringing out the safety car and giving Trulli and Hamilton another chance at Vettel.

Lapped traffic helped Vettel on the restart, however, and the German was able to put away the win.

No such luck for Vettel’s teammate, Mark Webber, who started from the pits and would return five times over the course of the race.

Next up, the penultimate race in Brazil in two weeks time. The tightening driver’s championship is already drawing comparisons to the 2007 championship, when Kimi Raikkonen came from behind to take the title by a point over battling teammates Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Japanese Grand Prix (53 laps)
  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault
  2. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  5. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  6. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  7. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  8. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  9. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  10. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  11. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes
  12. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari
  13. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
  14. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota
  15. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes
  16. Romain Grosjean, Renault +1 lap
  17. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault +2 laps
  • Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 43 laps
  • Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11 laps
  • Timo Glock, Toyota, injury, did not start

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