Japan GP Report

Red Bull and Vettel arrived at Suzuka ready to go for broke. They knew that the constructors’ and drivers’ titles were just still within their reach but only if they scored a big haul of points.

Unfortunately “go for broke” also applied to Mark Webber who did just that in a big way in final practice, so did not even take part in qualifying.

But Vettel was peerless all weekend, his pole was by a huge margin and his early race laps were more like qualifying laps as he built a very substantial margin over the rest of the field to take a very impressive race win on this most tricky of circuits.

The double Championship leaders Brawn had a rather more torrid weekend, team boss Ross Brawn admitting the cars were simply not at their best. They lacked speed, downforce and favourable tyres. They also suffered from the safety car period after Alguersuari’s massive accident – his second car-destroying crash in 48 hours! – and were lucky to bring the cars home with Barrichello 7th and Button 8th, Button’s drivers’ championship lead cut to just 14 points from his team mate, Vettel in with a slim chance to win the driver’s title if he scores heavily in the final two races.

In front of their home crowd Toyota’s second with Trulli was very welcome, especially at a circuit owned by Honda, and Lewis Hamilton’s third could so easily have been second but for the first KERS failure.

Worthy of a mention is Heikki Kovalainen’s cheeky move on Fizzy in the Ferrari as both exited the pits. He caught the old timer napping and undertook him, best move of the race by far and one of the best of the season!

The Brawn points might have been improved as the Stewards investigated Nico Rosberg’s pace into the pits under the safety car but they, after several hours’ consideration, allowed the results to stand.

So, onwards to Brazil where the championship might well be decided although conspiracy theorists will explain the title will go down to the last race, it being the first race at Abu Dhabi. Only time will tell….

Graham Benge
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