Button wins as Vettel wraps up title
The 24-year-old German star has secured the title with four rounds to spare, become the youngest-ever double world champ.
Vettel finished third behind McLaren race winner Jenson Button and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Australian Mark Webber finished in fourth place.
Button dominated the race after early leader Vettel ran into tyre wear issues – with tyres becoming the major factor of the race.
Vettel had taken the lead from the start after he squeezed Button onto the grass. Button lost second to McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but Hamilton’s race was compromised on Lap 8 when he suffered a right-rear puncture.
The race came to a head at the second round of pit stops. Button stopped a lap later than Vettel, with Button able to gain track advantage, take the lead and push towards his first Japanese Grand Prix win.
A safety car intervened on Lap 24 to clear debris following an earlier incident between Hamilton and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. The stewards investigation said that no driver was at fault.
Vettel’s tyre issues saw him fall behind Alonso, who ran four laps longer before making his third and final stop to switch to the medium Pirelli tyres.
Alonso slashed Button’s lead in the closing laps, but missed out on the win by 1.1 seconds.
Hamilton finished fifth from Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher, Massa, Sauber’s Sergio Perez, Renault’s Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg, who brought his Mercedes from the back of the grid.
Vettel, the new world champion, was delighted to wrap up the title early.
“To win the world championship here is fantastic, and there are so many things I want to say in this moment but it’s hard to remember all of them,” Vettel said.
“I am so thankful to everyone in the team, both here at the track and at Milton Keynes, to be able to fight for the championship and find ourselves in a very strong position. It was great to achieve the goal we set ourselves already, with four races left.”
The next round of the World Championship heads to Korea this coming weekend.
Japanese Grand Prix results.
|2||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||53||+1.1 secs||5||18|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||RBR-Renault||53||+2.0 secs||1||15|
|4||2||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||53||+8.0 secs||6||12|
|5||3||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||53||+24.2 secs||3||10|
|6||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||53||+27.1 secs||8||8|
|7||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||53||+28.2 secs||4||6|
|8||17||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||53||+39.3 secs||17||4|
|9||10||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||53||+42.6 secs||10||2|
|10||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||53||+44.3 secs||23||1|
|11||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||53||+54.4 secs||11|
|12||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||53||+62.3 secs||12|
|13||16||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||53||+63.7 secs||7|
|14||12||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||53||+64.1 secs||14|
|15||19||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||53||+66.6 secs||16|
|16||9||Bruno Senna||Renault||53||+72.6 secs||9|
|17||11||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||53||+74.1 secs||13|
|18||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||53||+87.8 secs||18|
|19||21||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||53||+96.1 secs||19|
|20||24||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||51||+2 Laps||21|
|21||25||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||51||+2 Laps||20|
|22||22||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||51||+2 Laps||22|
|23||23||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||50||+3 Laps||24|
|Ret||18||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||11||+42 Laps||15|