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It could have been quite a different race. For once it was not just Webber who had a bad start, both Red Bull got caught napping not only by Grosjean who rocketed past Vettel on his left but Hamilton who had beaten the German off the line and looked set to slice on the inside of Webber.
But it all lasted maybe 200 meters. Hamilton's right rear made contact with Vettel's front wing and was instantly punctured. Game over for Lewis, no damage for Vettel. It might have been a more interesting race with Red Bull having to manage from further down in the field.
As it was, it was another "strategic" race with Vettel's very disciplined driving taking full advantage of the preferred two stop strategy the team had him on. No risks, only one on track pass under DRS on the first try when Grosjean was unable to fight back. Efficient but nobody liked his whining about backmarkers on the radio. When you have an RB9 you probably should not be bleating for help from Charlie Whiting and claiming "it's not fair". No wonder people boo.
Webber was either given the riskier three stopper or perhaps forced into it by chasing Grosjean too hard in the beginning and using the tires too quickly.
Great race for Lotus and Grosjean, lightning start and good careful driving, getting the best out of the package. Amazing this is a team in supposed financial trouble because they are now arguably the second fastest on the grid.
Another milestone for Renault who have now surpassed Ferrari in engine wins, not sure how they must feel at Viry-Châtillon about their man Remí Taffin who had to change out of his yellow Renault shirt and into a Red Bull one for the podium ceremony.
Alonso had make due with the distinction of being the highest ever career point scorer, topping Schumacher in a statistic made rather meaningless by the change in point assignments. Many would gladly sign up for a race started in eight and finished fourth and Fernando did pass every car he could logically be expected to pass but, once again, pace was lacking (47 seconds behind Vettel in 53 laps) and luck did not go his way. The championship is not mathematically over but with development now shifter to the 2014 car it effectively is, barring something unexpected.
Another good race for Sauber with both Hulkenberg and Gutierrez in the points. A good birthday present for Peter Sauber.
If Sauber had a good race, Mercedes had a lousy one, Hamilton had to retire and Rosberg was handed a drive though when the team released him into the path of Checo Perez. He continued to clash with Perez on track and ended up behind both Saubers at the end.
Finally, may I point out the total dick move Maldonado put on his teammate Bottas in the final laps, driving him off the track to beat him to sixteenth place. Pathetic.
The Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka, Japan; 53 laps; 307.471km; Weather: Dry. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h26m49.301s 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault +7.1s 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +9.9s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +45.6s 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +47.3s 6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +51.6s 7. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1m11.6s 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1m12.0s 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1m20.8s 10. Felipe Massa Ferrari +1m29.2s 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes +1m38.5s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1 lap 15. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault +1 lap 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault +1 lap 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault +1 lap 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap Fastest lap: Mark Webber, 1m34.587s Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 9 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1 World Championship standings, round 15: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 297 1. Red Bull-Renault 445 2. Alonso 207 2. Ferrari 297 3. Raikkonen 177 3. Mercedes 287 4. Hamilton 161 4. Lotus-Renault 264 5. Webber 148 5. McLaren-Mercedes 83 6. Rosberg 126 6. Force India-Mercedes 62 7. Massa 90 7. Sauber-Ferrari 45 8. Grosjean 87 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 31 9. Button 60 9. Williams-Renault 1 10. Hulkenberg 39 11. Di Resta 36 12. Sutil 26 13. Perez 23 14. Ricciardo 18 15. Vergne 13 16. Gutierrez 6 17. Maldonado 1