Vettel wins in Japan, Hamilton limps to 5th place

The Japanese Grand Prix eventually got going after Qualifying was delayed till Sunday morning due to thunderstorms and heavy rain. And the top three positions were secured by Vettel, Webber and Hamilton, the latter having to start in 8th position because of a 5-place grid penalty incurred from changing a gear-box during the weekend. Behind the top three were Kubica, Alonso, Button and Rosberg.

Vettel lead right from the start of the race; the start also saw some early casualties: Di Grassi lost control of this car before the formation lap, Petrov swiping past Hulkenburg, and Massa flying off the kerb at the first corner and hitting Liuzzi into the wall. Hamilton gained several places at the start and was up to 6th place by the first corner, just ahead of his team-mate who was on the hard compound tyres – a different strategy from most of the other front runners.
Kubica having made his way as high as 2nd place, had to abandon the race as his left-rear tyre came undone in the 3rd lap, through no fault of his.

Hamilton had been doing well on the soft tyres and set several fast laps during the course of the race. But the disaster-prone 2008 WDC was to have one more challenge to contend with: he lost 3rd gear in the latter part of the race and had to nurse the car till the finish line. Losing 2seconds per lap and his team-mate overtaking him were the least of this worries as this was his first finish in 3 races, scoring a damage-limiting 10 points. Even though he is now demoted to 4th in the Championship standings, he seemed relieved to see the end of THIS race and hopefully to all his bad luck. Vettel (pictured) won the race ahead of his team-mate to keep his title hope alive and to take Hamilton’s title of the youngest WDC.

Home-boy Kobayashi gave the crowds a lot to cheer about by pulling several of his trademark overtaking moves and finishing in 7th place (6 points); his highest position this season.

Lotus driver, Heikki Kovalainen finished in 12th place, out of the points, but enough to secure Lotus the 10th place in the World Constructors Standings and guarantees the team more money and pit-garage location next season.

Photo from www.itv-f1.com
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