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Cometh the hour, Cometh the man! as Sebastian Vettel barely flinched leading from start to finish taking a pulsating victory in an incident packed Japanese Grand Prix. The victory means Vettel closes right in on Championship leader Fernando Alonso to just 4 points as Alonso's race came to a premature end at the very first corner. Mark Webber also a victim of the first corner mayhem drove a damage-limiting race to finish in 9th place with his championship challenge has definitely headed south.
The Red Bull team steamrolled their opponents in Qualifying as the RB8s were in a class of their own as they locked out the front row for the very first time this season. The Red Bull of Mark Webber got involved in the first corner chaos which fortunately did not bring his RB8 to a stop.
The "Gritty Aussie" dived quickly into the pits to swap to the hard tyres with a mountain to climb as he dropped all the way to the back of the grid. It was a clear track ahead of Vettel and the reigning Double Champion did what he does best, pulling away from the chasing pack setting a string of fastest laps, as he was 5 seconds clear of 2nd placed man Kamui Kobayashi.
Webber's title threat was heading south, as the Aussie was languishing at the tail end of the top 10 as the slow-moving train of cars was easy pickings for his superior RB8. Vettel had pace in reserve as he boosted his lead to over 10 seconds on the chasing pack headed by Felipe Massa. Webber seemed to have weathered the storm as the "Gritty Aussie" was running in 9th place, in pursuit of Pastor Maldonado for 8th place.
Vettel performed his final pit-stop as he regained control of the race after rejoining by a healthy-margin to 2nd placed Massa in his Ferrari. Webber was running just above the points scoring positions in 9th place, with Maldonado ahead of the wily Red Bull ace.
That is exactly how the race ended as Webber could not engineer a move past the Williams driver, with Vettel taking a dominant victory to close the gap to Alonso to just 4 points!
A delighted Vettel shared after, â€œItâ€™s been a fantastic weekend. Yesterdayâ€™s qualifying was perfect and today again, the balance of the car was amazing. We didnâ€™t change too much at the stops; it just seemed to work fantastically well. Iâ€™m very happy, the guys have been pushing very hard and even though we didnâ€™t have major upgrades here, it still seemed to come together and the balance was there â€“ and thatâ€™s what made the difference today. Itâ€™s a shame for Alonso, itâ€™s not something you hope for and it could happen to us at the next race. Weâ€™ve seen this year there are a lot of up and downs and things change quickly â€“ we have to keep our heads down and take it step by step.â€
A disappointed Webber shared, â€œI havenâ€™t seen what happened at the start, but itâ€™s been confirmed that it was Grosjean who hit me. Weâ€™re trying to fight for results each weekend and it doesnâ€™t help so, yeah, itâ€™s frustrating as a few of the big guys suffered out there today. We went onto a one stop strategy from then on, but I kept pushing, I didnâ€™t give up and got something from it. To finish eight seconds off fifth, after the fact I was in reverse at one point â€“ and also the safety car came in before I caught the back of the field â€“ was something. Iâ€™ll come back in Korea.â€
- 07/10/2012 12:44 - Japan GP 2012: Vettel triumphs; Alonso crashes out; Massa, Kobayashi make podium
- 07/10/2012 11:17 - Vettel reignites title challenge with win in Suzuka, Massa and Kobayashi complete popular podium places
- 07/10/2012 11:13 - Massa drives stellar race to finish an immaculate 2nd; Unfortunate Alonso registers DNF