Sebastian Vettel Drove to Victory at Suzuka
Sunday's Formula One race at Suzuka started with a very different grid than the one registered yesterday in qualifying. Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Fernando Alonso have all been given five-position penalties for failing to comply with speed regulations under yellow flag, during Sebastien Buemi's accident in Q2.
Buemi also received a five-position penalty for trying to reach the pit lanes with a damaged car during qualifying. Kovalainen and Liuzzi both suffered a five-place penalty for changing their gearbox, while Webber started from the pit lanes for fending a new chassis on his Red-Bull Renault.
Meanwhile, Timo Glock's injury following his accident on Saturday in Q2 restrained him from taking the start in the Japanese GP. According to reports, the German driver suffered a deep cut (5 cm) on his lower left leg. Toyota's driver is expected to be fit by Formula One's next GP in Brazil.
The start was quite disputed and fortunately no incident was recorded in the follow-up. Lewis Hamilton managed to pass Trulli for second place, while Button moved down to 12th. The first stint saw Button fighting back for positions, overtaking Fisichella in the first lap and Kubica in lap 3. With this, Button still had Kovalainen and Sutil in front, but the two entagled in the chicane and the Brit passed them effortless.
Next Sebastien Buemi retired with a clutch problem while Webber struggled with more unscheduled pit stops. Again the Ferraris struggled, showing just how uncompetitive the car is this season. Fisichella's poor performance can only emphasize Raikkonen's ability to battle for podium finishes behind the wheel of an untamed prancing horse.
From this point on, the race kind of settled its pace and decreased in intensity until Jaime Alguersuari lost control of his car and hit the protection barriers hard, requiering for the safecty car to deploy and the running pack was compact again.
With 4 laps to go, the safety car withdrew to the pits, while Hamilton faced a KERS system malfunction. Kimi Raikkonen was right behind to try and take advantage of the opportunity, but the Brit managed to fight the Finn and secure his podium place.
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h28:20.443
2. Trulli Toyota + 4.877
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 6.472
4. Raikkonen Ferrari + 7.940
5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota + 8.793
6. Heidfeld BMW Sauber + 9.509
7. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes + 10.641
8. Button Brawn-Mercedes + 11.474
9. Kubica BMW Sauber + 11.777
10. Alonso Renault + 13.065
11. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes + 13.735
12. Fisichella Ferrari + 14.596
13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 14.959
14. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes + 15.734
15. Nakajima Williams-Toyota + 17.973
16. Grosjean Renault + 1 lap
17. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 2 laps