Fernando Alonso continues to lead the F1 drivers' standings coming out of the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka, but his margin over Sebastian Vettel
has been slashed from 29pts to just 4pts with five races remaining in this year's championship.
Alonso's exit after contact with Kimi Raikkonen
in the first corner of the race meant that he had to watch his main rival for the title utterly dominate the rest of the race to maximise the points-scoring opportunity that Alonso's misfortune had presented.
Before Vettel's back-to-back wins at Singapore and Japan, Alonso held what had looked to be an almost unassailable 37pt lead over the rest of the field - with Lewis Hamilton
being in second place at the time. Now Hamilton has slumped to fourth place just behind Raikkonen, 42pts behind Alonso and increasingly unlikely to feature in the climax to the season's campaign.
After the their podium successes at Suzuka, Felipe Massa
moves up a place ahead of Sergio Perez from tenth to ninth in the driver standings, while Kobayashi climbs up from 13th to 11th position.
In the team standings, Red Bull
now have a 42pt lead over McLaren
in the constructors championship, with Ferrari
a further 20pts behind the Woking squad. Lotus are just hanging in with the leaders, but Mercedes, Sauber and Force India
have now all lost touch with this battle.CLICK HERE for the full driver and constructor standings following the F1 2012 Japanese Grand Prix.