| Source: autosport.com|
Sebastian Vettel clinched his fifth consecutive Formula 1 victory as differing strategies produced a thrilling climax to the Japanese Grand Prix.
Polesitter Mark Webber passed Romain Grosjean late on to secure a Red Bull one-two, but fell seven seconds short of denying Vettel and securing what would have been a first victory of his farewell F1 campaign.
Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h37.410s 2. Webber Red Bull-Renault +7.1s 3. Grosjean Lotus-Renault +9.9s 4. Alonso Ferrari +45.6s 5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +47.3s 6. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +51.6s 7. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1m11.6s 8. Rosberg Mercedes +1m12.0s 9. Button McLaren-Mercedes +1m20.8s 10. Massa Ferrari +1m29.2s 11. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes +1m38.5s 12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap 13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap 14. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1 lap 15. Perez McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap 16. Maldonado Williams-Renault +1 lap 17. Bottas Williams-Renault +1 lap 18. Pic Caterham-Renault +1 lap 19. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap Fastest lap: Mark Webber, 1m34.587s Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Hamilton Mercedes 9 van der Garde Caterham-Renault 0 Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 0 World Championship standings, round 15: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 297 1. Red Bull-Renault 445 2. Alonso 207 2. Ferrari 297 3. Raikkonen 177 3. Mercedes 277 4. Hamilton 151 4. Lotus-Renault 264 5. Webber 148 5. McLaren-Mercedes 83 6. Rosberg 126 6. Force India-Mercedes 62 7. Massa 90 7. Sauber-Ferrari 55 8. Grosjean 87 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 31 9. Button 60 9. Williams-Renault 1 10. Hulkenberg 49 11. Di Resta 36 12. Sutil 26 13. Perez 23 14. Ricciardo 18 15. Vergne 13 16. Gutierrez 6 17. Maldonado 1
Romain Grosjean – 3rd: “Today was just a very, very good race. What a start! It was superb to go past both the Red Bulls like that and it’ll be one of my best memories of the year. The car was fantastic on the first set of tyres and we managed to pull away, but then the Red Bulls were able to reel us in later on. Ultimately, we were the only car to almost catch the bull. It’s been a great home race for my engineer; it’s always good to come to Japan and it’s really good to be back on the podium again.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 5th: “I had a very poor start. I left the line with wheelspin and lost a few places which wasn’t ideal, but I managed to gain places back later on in the race. After the final pit stop the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it. It was a pretty normal race I would say. It’s difficult to overtake here so it’s good that we got some points. We did what we could.”
Eric Boullier – team principal: “It’s great to see such a good fight in the race and both our cars show so strongly. Once again, both drivers, our strategists and the pit crew performed brilliantly and we did the very best we could on track. We don’t have the pace to beat Red Bull, but today we showed them that we are nevertheless quite formidable whilst also underlining to Mercedes and Ferrari that we are a strong contender for the final four races of the season. We must say a big thanks to everyone at Enstone for the fantastic car we have in the E21. To see Romain leading the race was very satisfying and we hope to see that again very soon.”
Alan Permane – trackside operations director: “It was a great race for us and superb to see Romain leading for so much of it. We were the only team to take the fight to Red Bull; ultimately they were too quick for us but we took a strong and well deserved third place with Romain and a fighting fifth with Kimi. Romain made a fantastic start and we had enough in hand in the first stint to be able to pit a lap later than Mark, but they started to catch us on the medium tyres and Sebastian was able to catch and pass reasonably easily with their superior pace. It’s a great feeling to show so strongly at Suzuka.”