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Vettel wins Japanese GP.

Sebastian Vettel fully embodied the mascot of his Red Bull team by stampeding to a dominant victory in the Japanese Grand Prix, keeping both world championship battles alive with two races still to run on the 2009 Formula One calendar.

Having been fastest in every phase of qualifying, the German - who started the weekend 25 points adrift of championship leader Jenson Button with 30 to play for - carried his speed into the 53-lap race, pulling out enough of an advantage over his pursuers to be able to return to the lead after both of his pit-stops. He appeared to be headed for a crushing win until the intervention of a late safety car, which slashed his lead with just ten laps remaining.

Despite the presence of KERS-enabled Lewis Hamilton on row two, Vettel made the perfect start to lead into turn one, and was never headed thereafter. Hamilton's bid for the lead was thwarted by second-place starter Jarno Trulli, who initially managed to block the McLaren man's advance before succumbing to the inevitable. While the Italian then had to contend with Nick Heidfeld, however, Hamilton found it tougher to close the gap to the fleeing Red Bull as Vettel pulled out an early gap.

Further back, Jenson Button stuttered as he went for second, allowing Heikki Kovalainen to pass him for tenth, adding to the existing problem of having the more heavily-fuelled Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica promoted ahead of him by Saturday's post-qualifying penalties. Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, had held on to fifth spot, with Rubens Barrichello and Adrian Sutil filling the remaining top ten places.

Button quickly followed Kovalainen past Kubica to ease his worries, but found it harder to catch the McLaren, particularly when Kovalainen also put Sutil between them. Confident that he may be able to deal with the Finn if the slippery Force India wasn't there, the Briton tried to keep in touch until Sutil made his expected early stop, but found the handling of his Brawn not to his liking.

Once again, however, Button's luck while struggling held firm, as Sutil's lap 13 move on the McLaren at the chicane attracted a stiff response from Kovalainen that resulted in both of them tangling, allowing the Brawn free passage into eighth spot. Blame for the incident appeared to lie with the Finn who, far from ceding the corner to the marginally ahead Force India, bounced off the kerbs and collected it.

At the front, the order appeared pretty static, but the monotony was interrupted when Hamilton headed for the pits on lap 15. An 8.9secs stop returned him to the fray in seventh, and Trulli was unable to overturn the gap when he produced a near identical performance. Vettel, meanwhile, came in two laps after the Toyota, was stationary for nearly four seconds longer - as the Red Bull team played it safe instead of releasing him into the path of Heidfeld's BMW Sauber - and still had enough in hand to rejoin in the lead.

In the midst of the leaders stopping, Button made his call - the timing of which had been determined before the stewards wielded Saturday's red pen over the grid order - dropping to 14th behind a handful of longer runners, but carrying the same improved pace with which he had ended his opening stint.

Approaching half distance, the order was skewed by the presence of late-stoppers Rosberg, Kovalainen and Kubica in second, sixth and seventh but, when they finally made the call for fuel and tyres - surprising many by adopting two-stop strategies when one had been anticipated - normality was restored, with Vettel out front from Hamilton, Trulli, Heidfeld, Raikkonen and Barrichello - the top six unchanged from the opening lap - with Rosberg just ahead of Button and both Kubica and Kovalainen behind the Briton.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull RB5 Wins, British F1, Silverstone, 19th-21st, June, 2009
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13 race winner

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October 05, 2009 2:33 AM
Last Edited 419 days ago

norberts overworked Pie Shop (love the name) Seb would be miles infront of Webber if it werent for his relaiblity problems, and if you look at Quali he has only been out qualified by Mark once, where as both Button and Hamilton have been out qualified by their teammates on several occasions. And no one could touch Seb yesterday he could have gone alot faster if he need to, he was playing with the rest of the field. And dont forget he won in a toro rosso last year, has Button or Lewis won in a car that was a back marker? no and dont say that this years Mcl is a back marker cause at Hungary and Singapore it wasnt. Seb is the guy now, Hopefully Red Bull biuld him a quick car again next year

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