Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has won the Japanese Grand Prix, with Jarno Trulli second in his Toyota and McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton third. The German led from start to finish to win his third victory of the season.
REUTERS – Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix to keep his Formula One title hopes alive on Sunday while Jenson Button had his overall lead trimmed to 14 points with two races remaining.
The 22-year-old Red Bull driver’s third victory of the season left the German 16 points adrift of Brawn’s Button, who inched closer to the crown with a hard-fought eighth place.
“Finally we made it, I was screaming on the radio … it’s good to be back on first position also on Sunday,” said Vettel, the first German from outside the Schumacher family to win three races in a single season.
Button’s closest rival, Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello, crossed the line in seventh on a sunny afternoon at Suzuka.
Italian Jarno Trulli was second for Toyota in the team’s home race, equalling their best result, while McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton hung on for third ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Germany’s Nico Rosberg was fifth for Williams, with compatriot Nick Heidfeld sixth for BMW-Sauber.
Button would have clinched the title had he scored five points more than Barrichello but that had looked highly unlikely since Saturday, when both were handed five-place grid penalties.
Button’s chances of sealing the championship in Japan seemed even more remote when he ended the first lap in 11th place, but he passed BMW-Sauber’s Robert Kubica and was then gifted two more places when McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen and Force India’s Adrian Sutil collided just ahead of him.
Brawn, who emerged from the remains of the Honda team only weeks before the season started, were left a tantalising half-point away from becoming the first team to secure the constructors’ title in their debut season.
They now have 155 points to Red Bull’s 120.5, with a maximum 36 still to be won.
Vettel had led comfortably from pole position but his advantage evaporated when the safety car was deployed late in the race, after Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari crashed, and stayed out until four laps from the finish.
The Spaniard was unhurt in the accident.