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Tuesday, Sep 22nd

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vettel_wins_indian_gpReigning double world champion Sebastian Vettel completed a perfect weekend in India, completing a pole position to chequered flag victory at the Buddh International Circuit to extend his lead in the Drivers' Championship to 13 points with 3 races to go. Vettel's championship rival, Fernando Alonso, made the most of his Ferrari, climbing up three places from his 5th place starting position to finish an excellent second behind the young German. Mark Webber, who appeared to be struggling with his KERS towards the end of the race, lost second place to Alonso late in the piece, but managed to soak up enormous pressure from Lewis Hamilton to hang on to the final spot on the podium and collect some crucial constructors' championship points for Red Bull Racing.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finished fourth and fifth in their McLarens, with Button taking the honours of posting the fastest lap on the very last lap of the race. Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, NIco Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna completed the top 10.

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vettel_pit_stopReigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, chasing his fourth straight win of the season, began his defence of the Indian Grand Prix in perfect fashion, setting a 1:27.619 lap to top the timesheets in the morning's Free Practice session. Vettel was over three-tenths of a second quicker than Jenson Button, who found some much needed form on his final lap to be the only other driver to break 1:28s. Fernando Alonso sent out a warning to all those who believe his title challenge is fading by being third quickest with a time of 1:28.044. In fact, there was just one hundredths of a second separating the Ferrari driver and Vettel before the Red Bull man posted one final quick lap to wrap up his morning's work.

Lewis Hamilton, who was quickest in Friday free practice 1 here last season - almost a full second faster than today's best time - was also very much in the picture today, just 0.002 seconds off Alonso's pace. Red Bull's Mark Webber rounded off the top 5.

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delighted_vettelSebastian Vettel followed up a stunning pole with a dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.  The German now is the first back to back race winner this season turning the championship momentum firmly in his favour as the championship leader crashed out on the first lap for the second time in four races. Alonso’s championship lead has now been cut to just 4 points making the final 5 races of the year a straight shootout between the two rivals with Red Bull’s recent dominant pace giving Vettel the edge. It wasn’t all bad news for Ferrari as Felipe Massa finally made the podium for the first time this year with a strong second place having started in 11th. Kamui Kobayashi rounded off the podium taking a popular third place staving off the efforts of McLaren’s Button who finished strongly in fourth. The reception for the Japanese was deafening and the crowd chanting his name calling out their hero must rank among the very best feelings in Kobayashi’s career.

After the first lap mayhem that claimed multiple cars including Alonso and Rosberg, it was a relatively measured Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton finished a relatively uninspired drive in 5th place ahead of Raikkonen who staved off the  charging Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. Maldonado finished just behind in 8th while Webber finished in 9th. Daniel Ricciardo had to absorb loads of pressure from Michael Schumacher but eventually kept him at bay to take the all important final championship point.

The win was Vettel’s 24th F1 win and third this season keeping Red Bull well ahead in the Constructors championship as well. Alonso put on a brave face saying, “It happened to me this time, it could happen to him next time. It becomes almost a mini championship now and we have to win one point more than the other guy”.Vettel concurred saying that things were quite unpredictable in F1 but was undoubtedly focussed on the final championship phase. Raikkonen and Hamilton are still in with a chance with 157 and 152 points respectively, but both will need a massive step up in pace and consistency to mount a serious title tilt in the remaining five races.

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vettel_on_poleRed Bull came, saw and conquered! as the reigning constructors champions locked out the front row with Sebastian Vettel claiming his 4th consecutive pole in Suzuka, with teammate Aussie Mark Webber right alongside him on the starting grid in 2nd place. Jenson Button qualified in 3rd place for McLaren but will drop 5 places as a result of a gear-box penalty, thus promoting home-hero Kamui Kobayashi to a sizzling 3rd place.

Romain Grosjean starts from 4th place for Lotus, whilst Sergio Perez the man replacing Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next season rounding off the top 5.

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