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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2 in Japan

Sebastian Vettel won a thriller at Suzuka, while Mark Webber finished second to maintain his lead in the championship in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso finished third in the Ferrari.

Winner Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (R) and second placed team-mate driver Mark Webber of Australia celebrate on the podium after the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit October 10, 2010.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT MOTOR RACING)

The top five drivers in the championship finished in the top five, but there was entertainment aplenty throughout the field. Five cars had been eliminated before the first lap was complete, including Lucas di Grassi, who managed to lose his Virgin on the reconnaissance lap. Separate incidents at the start accounted for the others, including Felipe Massa.

Debris flies as Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil spins out on the first bend after colliding with Force India Formula One driver Vitantonio Liuzzi of Italy during the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit October 10, 2010. REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT MOTOR RACING IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Little stood in the way of the Red Bulls. Vettel and Webber were split at the start by Robert Kubica, who dropped out early behind the safety car when the right rear came off, and after the Red Bulls made their first stop there was a bit of a wait for Jenson Button to finish his long stint. Button's gamble to start on the harder compound did not pay off, as the track suited the softer tire much earlier than expected. Button would return in fifth, but pass McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton for fourth when the Briton lost third gear.

Michael Schumacher put in one of his better drives of the season to finish sixth in the Mercedes, a spot he inherited when teammate Nico Rosberg suffered a heavy crash when he, too, lost a wheel.

But drive of the day has to go to hometown hero Kamui Kobayashi, who passed several drivers to take home seventh ahead of BMW Sauber teammate Nick Heidfeld (The other hometown favorite, Sakon Yamamoto, brought his HRT home in 16th). Rubens Barrichello finished ninth for Williams and Sebastien Buemi tenth in the Toro Rosso.

And there was celebration in the Lotus Racing garage as Heikki Kovalainen led home Jarno Trulli for a one-two, its best finish of the season, giving the team and edge for tenth in the constructors championship and that all important TV money.

Now it's off to Korea in two weeks time. We should here this week from the FIA whether there will be a track to race on...

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates winning the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit October 10, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT MOTOR RACING)

  1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull 1:30:27.323
  2. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull +00:00.905
  3. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 00:02.721
  4. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 00:13.522
  5. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 00:39.595
  6. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 00:59.933
  7. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) BMW Sauber 01:04.038
  8. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber 01:09.648
  9. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Williams 01:10.846
  10. Sebastien Buemi (Switzerland) Toro Rosso 01:12.806
  11. Jaime Alguersuari (Spain) Toro Rosso 1 lap
  12. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Lotus 1 lap
  13. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Lotus 2 laps
  14. Timo Glock (Germany) Virgin 2 laps
  15. Bruno Senna (Brazil) HRT 2 laps
  16. Sakon Yamamoto (Japan) HRT 3 laps
  17. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 6 laps
  • Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 9 laps
  • Robert Kubica (Poland) Renault 51 laps
  • Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Williams 53 laps
  • Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 53 laps
  • Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Renault 53 laps
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) Force India 53 laps
  • Lucas Di Grassi (Brazil) Virgin 53 laps

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