Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel kept alive his faint hopes of winning this year’s Formula One world title with a convincing success in Sunday’s Japan Grand Prix at Suzuka.
The 22-year-old German cruised to victory from pole position, his third of the season and fourth of his career. World championship leader Jenson Button collected a single point after finishing eighth, meaning he is now 14 points ahead of Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who finished one place ahead of him in seventh, and 16 points clear of Vettel — with just two races remaining in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Brawn, meanwhile, need just one more point to take the constructors title ahead of Red Bull. Vettel finished ahead of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli with world champion Lewis Hamilton securing third position in his McLaren.
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Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for Ferrari ahead of German duo Nico Rosberg (Williams) and Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber). Vettel told reporters: “The title can still be won. It would be nice to have a couple more races left, but with two races to go, we are here to fight and the best thing we can do is win.” Button said he was happy to pick up a point. “I obviously lost a few points to Vettel but we expected him to win the race, their pace has been very good all weekend. It’s nice to pick up a point and to finish just behind Rubens.” Vettel made a flying start from pole position and by lap 10 was 3.3 seconds clear of Hamilton with Trulli in third place. Button was struggling down in 11th position but was handed a lucky break on lap 14 when Adrian Sutil tried to pass Heikki Kovalainen but collided with the McLaren driver. It was a perfect invitation to Button and he managed to pass both cars to move into eighth place, a position he was to maintain.