Skip to main content

Sebastian Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2 in Japan to close on title

October 13, 2013 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
Sebastian Vettel gives his trademark victory salute after a superb drive to win the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Sebastian Vettel gives his trademark victory salute after a superb drive to win the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sebastian Vettel makes it five wins in a row with Japan triumph
  • Red Bull star wins from teammate Mark Webber
  • Vettel extends championship lead to 90 points over Fernando Alonso
  • Minute's silence before the race for Maria de Villota

(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel produced another Formula One masterclass Sunday to win the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull teammate Mark Webber but will have to wait to secure his fourth straight world title.

Nearest rival Fernando Alonso finished fourth in his Ferrari to deny Vettel the perfect finish in Suzuka, but the German has extended his lead to 90 points with a maximum of 100 available from the remaining four rounds.

It was a fifth straight victory for Vettel and his fourth in five at Suzuka, but he spent most of the race in third place behind longtime leader Romain Grosjean in his Lotus and pole sitter Webber.

Read: CNN's F1 interactive for results and standings

France's Grosjean, who finished a fine third, charged into the lead from the start, while Vettel was hampered by a minor collision with Britain's Lewis Hamilton, which led to the early retirement of the Mercedes driver.

What's behind Vettel's winning streak?
Remembering Maria de Villota

Vettel conserved his Pirelli tires superbly, enabling him to make just two pit stops against three for Webber and it proved crucial.

Australia's Webber, retiring from F1 at the end of the season, made desperate efforts to get on terms after his final stop and was able to pass Grosjean, but Vettel was too far ahead.

"I'm blown away with today's race," the champion elect said after his victory.

"I was in a bit of a sandwich with the Lotus (Grosjean) and Lewis.

"I couldn't avoid the contact. It was a horrible start but a fantastic comeback."

Read: Vettel lauds Red Bull's hard work

Vettel only needs a top-five finish in the next round in India to make sure of the title, joining compatriot Michael Schumacher and Argentina legend Juan Manuel Fangio as the only men to win four world titles in a row.

Kimi Raikkonen in the second Lotus and Nico Hulkenberg for Sauber were fifth and sixth.

Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico picked up his first F1 points in seventh on a fine day for Sauber with Nico Rosberg for Mercedes, McLaren's Jenson Button and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) rounding off the points scoring.

Read: F1 pioneer de Villota found dead

Before the race, two-time champion Alonso led a minute's silence for compatriot Maria de Villota, who was found dead in her Seville hotel room Friday.

The official podium at Suzuka was also be dedicated to the memory of the 33-year-old former Marussia reserve driver.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
May 1, 2014 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN ARABIC BY SUHEIL HOWAYEK: (FILES) Brazilian F1 driver Ayrton Senna adjusts his rear view mirror in the pits 01 May 1994 before the start of the San Marino Grand Prix. Senna died after crashing in the seventh lap. Some 45 drivers, including Senna and Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, have been killed during Formula One races whose tracks are dubbed by some as the 'circuits of death.' AFP PHOTO/JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU (Photo credit should read JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
ADVERTISEMENT