Vettel rules Suzuka in fast-paced Qualifying and Race preceedings

vettel-rules-suzuka-fastpaced-qualifying-race-preceedings  Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel scored his third win of the season with a sound tyre strategy in a fast-paced, close and exciting Japanese Grand Prix. Vettel led teammate Mark Webber across the line by less than a second for Red Bull Racing’s third 1-2 of the season. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took third and the final podium spot, with the first through tenth positions virtually finished in the order they started.

Prior to the race, the Qualifying session saw the two Red Bulls in a league of their own to head the grid on Sunday afternoon’s race.

Webber and Red Bull Racing continue to hold on the drivers’ and manufacturers’ lead in the Formula One World Championships, while Vettel is now tied for second with Alonso in the rankings.

vettel-rules-suzuka-fastpaced-qualifying-race-preceedings-1Sebastian Vettel commented, “It was a nice Sunday; to have qualifying and the race in one day is a unique experience and to finish top in both is great. Thanks to the team, to those here and also back in the UK – they all work very, very hard. We had some small upgrades here and they were a step forward. Our car loves this type of circuit and I’m very happy and very proud of the latest result.”

vettel-rules-suzuka-fastpaced-qualifying-race-preceedings-2Webber added, “I pushed Sebastian in the race – we pulled away on the soft tyre in the first stint and I was comfortable on the hard tyre after my stop. It was a formation finish and a one-two for the team; it’s a great result for us in the constructors’ championship and a good result for me in the drivers’.”

Alonso secured another podium spot, in third, for his race efforts at Suzuka and managed to maintain his second place in the championship (tied with Vettel). Team mate Felipe Massa was forced out following the opening lap collision with Force India’s  Vitantonio Liuzzi. “All things considered this was a positive day for us. On a circuit that seemed purpose built to show off the strengths of the Red Bull, we managed to get on the podium, losing just three points to the championship leader. We had a bit of luck because Kubica’s retirement meant a potentially very strong rival was out of the reckoning. I did not make an ideal start, partly because of a problem with the clutch, but then I soon made up a place over Button,” said the rather satisfied Spaniard.

“We will have further new parts in the next few races: maybe not so big but put together they could give us a few tenths which is always useful. We come out of this weekend with our heads held high, knowing that we must try and beat Webber in the coming races to close down the gap to the top,” he added.

McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton weren’t on par to the Red Bulls and the Ferrari’s pace, and pretty much languish in fourth and fifth for the entire race. Button topped his team mate at the flag by 26 seconds for fourth overall. “At the start of the race, the drivers in front weren’t struggling on the Option tyre as much as we’d expected. So we were a little bit compromised, and I think we stayed out too long for our first stint. It was a tough race on such old tyres, but it was fun once we’d fitted the Option. Still, we weren’t quick enough to beat the Red Bulls and possibly the Ferrari. And I don’t think we’d have finished any further up,” the current champion reiterated.

A frustrated Hamilton, who suffered a five-place grid drop for a gearbox change at the start, quoted, “This wasn’t a great weekend for me. I made a mistake on Friday, then we changed the gearbox yesterday and I got a grid penalty, and then I had another gearbox problem in the race. With the gearbox, I was running normally, then downshifted into third, accelerated and lost the gear. After that, I had to rely on just fourth gear and above. The championship doesn’t look great at the moment. But there are still three races to go and 75 points available, so we’ll remain optimistic and keep doing the best job we can.”

Both Renaults failed to finish with Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov being hit by various race misfortunes. Kubica apparently faced a wheel problem, pending a full investigation, and was forced to retire from an encouraging second place during the safety car period. Petrov’s race ended after a collision with Nico Hulkenberg’s Williams at the beginning of the first lap.

Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher started sixth and secured the same position at the conclusion of the Japanese GP. Team mate Nico Rosberg had a disappointing race weekend and was classified a DNF. Schumacher felt that he put in his performance and max for the sixth place, while Rosberg was appalled by a clutch problem on his MGP-W01 at race start and a broken rear suspension in the second stint.

AT&T Williams team achieved another points scoring race result following Rubens Barrichello’s determined drive to ninth place. Meanwhile, Hulkenberg was unable to capitalize on his competitive showing in qualifying when a collision off the start line put him out of contention from the outset. Barrichello’s two points further strengthen the team’s efforts to secure sixth place in the constructors’ with just three races remaining.

Force India F1 Team recorded its first double DNF of the 2010 season. Both Adrian Sutil and Liuzzi qualified 15th and 17th positions for the race as they struggled with the tyre temperatures on a cooler and slicker than expected track. The pair had good starts in the day’s later race – each gaining at least five positions off the line – however Liuzzi’s race was shortlived as he was hit by Massa going into the first corner. The impact knocked him into the wall and into instant retirement. Sutil was up to eleventh when the safety car was deployed as a result of the debris and maintained a top ten position until his pit stop on lap 18. The German had regained tenth and was chasing Barrichello for ninth when an oil leak called a halt to his race on lap 45.

Kamui Kobayashi and Nick Heidfeld achieved the best result for the Sauber team this season. The Japanese proved once again his fighting spirit and worked his way through from 14th on the grid to seventh at the finish, while Heidfeld drove a ‘real’ race comeback for an encouraging eighth spot.

Sebastien Buemi completed the top ten drivers’ list for the Japanese GP and team mate Jaime Alguersuari was classified just a spot behind his team mate in eleventh, a lap down on the top dog.

Best of the new teams in Suzuka was the Lotus F1 Racing with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli finishing in 12th and 13th respectively. The Finn and the Italian’s efforts heralded the team with their best race finishes of 2010. Both drivers put in consistent performances throughout an action packed race, and the team is absolutely elated to have taken such a significant step towards the goal of securing tenth place in manufacturers’, eventhough a point has yet been soughted.

vettel-rules-suzuka-fastpaced-qualifying-race-preceedings-3

Results
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:30:27.323
2 Mark Webber Red Bull +0.9 secs
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +2.7 secs
4 Jenson Button McLaren +13.5 secs
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren +39.5 secs
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP +59.9 secs
7 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber  +64.0 secs
8 Nick Heidfeld Sauber  +69.6 secs
9 Rubens Barrichello Williams +70.8 secs
10 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso  +72.8 secs
11 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso +1 Lap
12 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus +1 Lap
13 Jarno Trulli Lotus +2 Laps
14  Timo Glock Virgin +2 Laps
15 Bruno Senna HRT +2 Laps
16 Sakon Yamamoto HRT +3 Laps
17 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP +6 Laps

DNFs
Adrian Sutil
Robert Kubica
Nico Hulkenberg
Felipe Massa
Vitaly Petrov
Vitantonio Liuzzi
Lucas di Grassi

Drivers’ standings
1 Mark Webber 220
2 Fernando Alonso 206
3 Sebastian Vettel 206
4 Lewis Hamilton 192
5 Jenson Button 189
6 Felipe Massa  128
7 Nico Rosberg 122
8 Robert Kubica  114
9 Michael Schumacher 54
10 Adrian Sutil German  47
11 Rubens Barrichello  41
12 Kamui Kobayashi  27
13 Vitaly Petrov 19
14 Nico Hulkenberg  17
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi 13
16 Sebastien Buemi 8
17 Pedro de la Rosa  6
18 Nick Heidfeld  4
19 Jaime Alguersuari  3

Teams’ Ranks
1 Red Bull  426
2 McLaren 381
3 Ferrari 334
4 Mercedes GP 176
5 Renault 133
6 Force India 60
7 Williams 58
8 Sauber-Ferrari 37
9 Toro Rosso  11

Qualifying
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:30:27.323
2 Mark Webber Red Bull  +0.9 secs
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +2.7 secs
4 Jenson Button McLaren +13.5 secs
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren +39.5 secs
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP +59.9 secs
7 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber +64.0 secs
8  Nick Heidfeld Sauber +69.6 secs
9 Rubens Barrichello Williams +70.8 secs
10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso +72.8 secs