Vettel wins in Japan to close up on championship leader Alonso
October 7, 2012 -- Updated 1756 GMT (0156 HKT)
Sebastian Vettel drove his Red Bull to a commanding victory at Suzuka to boost his title hopes.
- Sebastian Vettel wins Japanese Grand Prix from pole position
- German cuts title gap on Fernando Alonso to four points
- Alonso eliminated in first corner incident at Suzuka
- Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi second and third
(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel boosted his hopes of a third straight world championship title with a commanding drive from pole to win the Japanese Grand Prix Sunday.
Felipe Massa of Brazil finished a distant second in his Ferrari with Kamui Kobayashi sending the home crowd at Suzuka into a frenzy by taking third place.
Red Bull's Vettel made a clean start to avoid the first corner chaos which saw championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari spin out of the race after being clipped by Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus.
His second straight victory has seen him close to within four points of Spaniard Alonso in the standings with five rounds remaining.
Fernando Alonso recovers from car crash
Massa, under pressure for his place at Ferrari, took advantage of the crash and the ensuing safety car to move through the field with a superb drive, while Kobayashi became the first Japanese driver since 1990 to claim a podium in their home grand prix.
He was pushed all the way by Jenson Button, whose McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton finished fifth to move to within 42 points of Alonso.
Germany's Vettel had dominated practice and qualifying, with his teammate Mark Webber also starting on the front row to underline the pace of the Red Bull car.
Webber was tagged from behind by Romain Grosjean of Lotus on the first lap to end his victory hopes, but he worked his way through the field to finish ninth.
Grosjean had to serve a 10-second penalty meted out by stewards.
When you dream at night you dream about being able to drive a car like that
The Frenchman sat out the Italian Grand Pix after being given a one-race ban for a similar incident at the Belgian Grand Prix where Alonso and Hamilton were the principal victims.
His teammate Raikkonen finished sixth with Nico Hulkenberg of Force India in seventh.
Pastor Maldonado of Williams held off Webber for eighth with Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso in the final points scoring position.
Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, who started at the back of the grid, worked his way through to 11th in his final Japanese GP before going into retirement for the second time at the end of the season.
Vettel, who won by nearly 20 seconds, said he did not realize Alonso was out until halfway through the race.
He was full of praise for his team, who have given him a very competitive car for the closing races of the season.
"The guys have pushed so hard over the last couple of months and when you dream at night you dream about being able to drive a car like that.
"I was enjoying every lap, which I think was why we had such a big gap to the others and I am very happy," he told the post-race press conference.
It was his 24th career victory in Formula One while Massa was on the podium for the first time since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.
Part of complete coverage on
Relive the Formula One season as it progressed, circuit by circuit, race by race.
CNN's Amanda Davies travels to a small German town to discover the real Sebastian Vettel, F1's all-conquering champion.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
November 28, 2013 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Red Bull's four time world champion Sebastian Vettel lifts the lid on life out in front of the pack.
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
It is 5 a.m. on Sunday morning in Austin, Texas and the grid girls are already up and getting ready for the race.
November 12, 2013 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
There are books -- and then there are books. This one has been six years in the making and it doesn't come cheap.
October 24, 2013 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
CNN's Ben Wyatt explores the popularity of F1 in India and what the future might hold.
November 8, 2013 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
How would you feel if your boss asked you to lose weight so you could carry on doing your job? That is the reality facing Formula One drivers.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
Kimi Raikkonen has long been box office gold, even before he re-signed with Ferrari for 2014, says CNN's Sarah Holt.
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 1627 GMT (0027 HKT)
Monza may be a long way from his birthplace in West Lothian, Scotland but Italy is unquestionably a home from home for Paul di Resta.
September 2, 2013 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
McLaren follow founder Bruce McLaren's mantra by measuring life in "achievement not in years alone."
September 2, 2013 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
Australian Daniel Ricciardo will join Sebastian Vettel at all-conquering Red Bull for the 2014 season, the F1 team confirms.
August 25, 2013 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
Activists protesting against Arctic oil drilling infiltrate an F1 race in Belgium, but the off-track incident does not stop Sebastian Vettel's title march.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Christina MacFarlane explores the role aerodynamics play in boosting a Formula One car's performance.
Today's five most popular stories