Vettel keeps title hopes alive with victory at Suzuka

Sebastian Vettel dominated the Japanese Grand Prix from start to finish, even a late safety car period caused by Jaime Alguersuari’s big crash on the exit of 130R was unable to trouble the cool German in achieving his third victory of the season.

By winning at Suzuka, Vettel and Red Bull Racing still have the opportunity to win the drivers’ championship, following a challenging race for Jenson Button and the Brawn GP team’s grid penalties.

Jarno Trulli gave home team Toyota its second runner-up finish in a week by beating Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren to second, with the world champion just resisting Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for third.

Nico Rosberg finished fifth for Williams with fellow countryman Nick Heidfeld taking sixth for BMW Sauber.

As for the Brawn GP pair, the championship battle between Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button advances to the next race following a difficult Grand Prix. By finishing in seventh and eighth respectively, this was not enough to wrap up the constructors’ title and with only 14 points between the Brazilian and the Briton, the fight for top honours moves on to Sao Paulo in two weeks time.

As the five red lights went out, Vettel managed to fend off the KERS-assisted Hamilton at the start. The Red Bull stuck to the racing line, while the McLaren was forced to take the outside route, but at least Lewis was ahead of Jarno Trulli.

This trio pulled away from the rest of the field, with Nick Heidfeld’s BMW in a lonely fourth. At this point, Barrichello was trapped behind Raikkonen in sixth position.

Button fell to P12 at the start, but managed to overtake Giancarlo Fisichella’s Ferrari further around the first lap and then outbraked Robert Kubica’s BMW at the chicane on lap three.

The championship leader was then stuck behind the battling Mercedes-powered pair of Heikki Kovalainen and Adrian Sutil. Jenson needed to get by as soon as possible or risk losing ground to the top eight.

Fortunately for Button, the McLaren and the Force India ahead tangled at the chicane on lap 13 as Kovalainen tried to fight back on the exit after losing the place under braking.

While Sutil spun and Kovalainen lost momentum, Button cruised through to eighth – and the race continued to unfold in his favour through the middle stint. Rather than managing to jump Raikkonen and challenge for a podium, Barrichello stayed behind the Ferrari in the first stops and then lost ground on his second set of tyres, falling 15 seconds behind Raikkonen.

The threat from the fast-closing Kubica behind was then neutralised when Heidfeld emerged from his final stop right in front of his team-mate, and by the time Kubica had got ahead after several laps of frantic efforts, he was too far adrift to steal the point from the Brawn.

Up front, Vettel controlled the race with ease, while Hamilton looked to be secure in second, 2 to 3 seconds clear of Trulli, until the Toyota ran two laps further at the second stops and jumped ahead to claim the runner-up spot.

Raikkonen charged up behind Heidfeld in the middle of the race and then vaulted the BMW Sauber for fourth in the pits, with Nico Rosberg then pushing his countryman back to sixth by running very long in his second stint.

A huge crash for Jaime Alguersuari brought out the safety car with nine laps to go. The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver lost control of his car at the exit of 130R and slammed into the barriers at scarcely diminished speed. He climbed from the car unaided but was taken away on a stretcher for medical checks. His team-mate Sebastien Buemi retired early with a clutch problem.

The appearance of the safety car allowed Nico Rosberg to stay ahead of both Brawns with his last pit stop. After the race Button claimed Rosberg had gained four seconds under the safety car, allowing him to stay ahead. If Rosberg got a standard 25-second penalty, it would give Brawn two more points and make them constructors’ champions.

Vettel stormed away with ease in the final four-lap sprint, with Trulli safe in second as Hamilton held off Raikkonen despite KERS malfunctions.

All eyes were on the championship contenders as Button mounted a final attack on Barrichello, but then Jenson was under huge pressure from Kubica instead. The Polish driver tried several attempts to get by but it did not pay off, and Button was able to take the remaining point with eighth.

Fernando Alonso used a one-stop strategy to come through from the back of the grid to tenth for Renault, ahead of Kovalainen and Fisichella, who had a dramatic moment after their final pit stops. The Ferrari jumped ahead in the pits but the McLaren retaliated with a bold wheel-banging move into the first corner.

While Vettel dominated, Mark Webber’s bad luck continued and after making three early pit stops – two to secure a loose headrest, and the third to attend to a puncture. Fastest lap showed what might have been for the Red Bull driver.

Vettel’s stunning victory aside, the German’s hopes of winning the title may appear slim, especially given his engine situation, but Sebastian knows how Kimi Raikkonen won the title back in 2007 and will remember that anything is possible in Formula One.

Race results from the Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka. 67 laps:

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

Fastest lap: Webber, 1:32.569

Not classified/retirements:

Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    58 laps
Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    26 laps
Glock         Toyota                15 laps

World Championship standings, round 15:


1.  Button        85
2.  Barrichello   71
3.  Vettel        69
4.  Webber        51.5
5.  Raikkonen     45
6.  Hamilton      43
7.  Rosberg       34.5
8.  Trulli        30.5
9.  Alonso        26
10. Glock         24
11. Kovalainen    22
12. Massa         22
13. Heidfeld      15
14. Kubica         9
15. Fisichella     8
16. Sutil          5
17. Buemi          3
18. Bourdais       2


1.  Brawn-Mercedes        156
2.  Red Bull-Renault      120.5
3.  Ferrari                67
4.  McLaren-Mercedes       65
5.  Toyota                 54.5
6.  Williams-Toyota        34.5
7.  Renault                26
8.  BMW Sauber             24
9.  Force India-Mercedes   13
10. Toro Rosso-Ferrari     5

Next race: Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos. October 16-18.

10 thoughts to “Vettel keeps title hopes alive with victory at Suzuka”

  1. The top three drivers’ views on the 2009 Japanese Grand Prix courtesy from

    Sebastian Vettel is adamant he can still win this year’s championship after taking a dominant win at the Japanese Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver started the Suzuka race from pole position and was never challenged for first place, scoring his third win of the season.

    Vettel’s victory kept his title chances alive after championship leader Jenson Button had to settle for a single point from eighth position.

    The result left Vettel 16 points behind Button with two races to go, and the German believes he can still beat the Brawn driver.

    “It can still be done,” said Vettel after the race. “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 like today.

    “We have a great car, still improving, everyone in the factory is improving so we’ll see.”

    Vettel said he was very confident for the race after having clinched pole position, but he admitted his main concern was the start, where Lewis Hamilton in the KERS-equipped McLaren got closer than he had expected.

    “Yesterday with pole position and also strategy wise we were the favourites, but first of all you had the start,” he said. “We were confident and had good starts in the past, so were confident to defend the position.

    “It was closer than I thought it would be, going into turn 1 I saw a silver arrow on the left hand side. I was on the inside so I had advantage but it was closer than I thought.

    “From there I pushed every single lap. The car was fantastic, I was able to get a good lap, we were longer than Jarno and Lewis so it all worked out. Until the end it was all under control until I put the soft tyres on the last stint.

    “I wanted a bit of fun so did one quick lap, then the engineer came on and said be careful with the tyres as there might be a safety car and then two laps later there was a safety car. But I was still taking care of tyres. At the restart I was able to use it and had a bit of a cushion with Grosjean behind me. It was a good restart and then built a gap that was safe enough to win it.”

    He added: “Finally we made it. It the last couple of races we were a little bit up and down. Sometimes we had the pace, sometimes we didn’t, so it is good to be back in the top position on Sunday.”

    Jarno Trulli described his Japanese Grand Prix as a “qualifying race” after passing Lewis Hamilton for second place in the second round of pitstops.

    The Italian had not finished on the podium since the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, but set some fast laps before his second stop to leapfrog Hamilton, who has used KERS power boost to pass the Italian at the start.

    “I really enjoyed the ‘qualifying race’ with Lewis, closing the gap and coming closer,” said Trulli, whose second place was his best result for over four years.

    “It was not easy at all. After the first pitstop I was chasing him closely. Thanks to team strategy, we got him at the last pit-stop and after that it was easy from me, apart from the safety car.

    “I thought it would be a difficult restart with Lewis close to me, but I pulled away again.”

    The 35-year-old, who is currently without a drive for the 2010 season, believes that he would not have been able to challenge race winner Sebastian Vettel even if he had held second at the start.

    “Even though I really wanted to win, it was impossible today because Vettel was unstoppable.”

    Trulli added that the hard work of the team had helped turn around the team’s season, with a difficult mid-season spell ended by his second place and team-mate Timo Glock’s second place in Singapore last week.

    “It is a double result, because we come from a fantastic podium with Timo in Singapore,” said Trulli. “From there, we came here and the car looked competitive straightaway.

    “The team is in F1 and proving that they can still do the job. There are still some areas we have to improve, but being on the podium is fantastic. It’s down to the entire team, the engineers, drivers, mechanics.

    “We are having a lot of fun and productive work inside the team. The atmosphere is very nice.”

    Trulli’s result keeps alive Toyota’s chances of improving on its current fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, with Ferrari and McLaren 12.5 and 10.5 points ahead respectively.

    Lewis Hamilton suspects that the KERS glitch that affected his McLaren late in the Japanese Grand Prix cost him a chance of beating Jarno Trulli to second.

    The world champion lost second place to the Toyota at the final stops when Trulli ran two laps further, but Hamilton reckoned he might have been able to regain the position at the late safety car restart had his KERS not stopped working by that time..

    “I was on the radio for the last couple of SC laps asking the team if they could get KERS working again,” he said.

    “I needed that to have any chance of passing Jarno at the restart, so I was looking out to see if we could get as close as possible. But I didn’t particularly exit the last corner close enough to get him. It’s always the case that you have to be very close to him, so I was not able to do it.”

    He also felt the lack of KERS had cost him a little time around the crucial second pitstop sequence when Trulli had vaulted ahead.

    “Just before or after the last stop I lost KERS, so that automatically lost us a few tenths per lap, then the brake balance changes,” said Hamilton.

    “I had to have a three second gap before the last stop, and had 3.1 then there was the last couple of laps, and I lost half a second.

    “Once he was in front of me it was impossible to keep up with him. They did a fantastic job and we will battle at the next race.”

  2. Despite finishing in eighth position Jenson Button remains positive that he can stil win the drivers’ title. Read on for his views as taken from

    Jenson Button was happy to lose just one point to Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello after finishing in eighth position at the Japanese Grand Prix.

    But the Briton says he is expecting to gain a place later on, because he is convinced Williams driver Nico Rosberg, fifth today, will get a penalty for not slowing down when the safety was on track.

    “Today was about picking up points and that’s what I did,” Button told the BBC after the race. “I can’t say I’ll only be getting one point at the end of the race, because Rosberg set his best sector under the safety car.

    “It went green and he gained four seconds on myself and Rubens when you are all doing the same pace because you are limited – we have it on the steering wheel. So I really can’t see that I am only going to get one point. I’m sure he is going to get a penalty for that.

    “So one or two points is good and I only lost one to Rubens. I obviously lost a few to Vettel but we expected him to win the race, their pace has been very good all weekend. It’s nice to pick up one or two points, whichever one it is, and to finish just behind Rubens.”

    Button has a 14-point lead to Barrichello with just two races to go, with Sebastian Vettel, winner today at Suzuka, 16 points behind.

    Brawn driver Button was never in contention for the top positions, having started from 11th position.

    The Briton, however, was pleased with his pace in the race.

    “In the race my pace was very good,” he said. “I was very happy with it. It’s just tough when you are that far back at the start. I was stuck behind people that were stopping much later, but we made it work in the end and I am happy with today’s performance.

    “My race pace was good and that is all I can hope for. I was pulling massive amounts of time out of the people in front of me. It is very difficult to overtake around here and with that SC it bunched us all up. I did the best I could in the car that I have and today the car was working reasonably well, but obviously not as well as those at the front.

    “We go to two circuits now that should suit our car reasonably well so I am excited about the next two and looking forward to Brazil.”

  3. As for Rubens Barrichello, who finished in seventh at Suzuka, the Brazilian is looking forward to competing in his home race at Interlagos. Article taken from

    Rubens Barrichello is targeting victory in his home grand prix in two weeks as he bids to keep his world championship hopes alive.

    The Brazilian finished seventh in the Japanese Grand Prix, cutting team-mate Jenson Button’s points lead to 14 points, and needs a big result at Interlagos to take the title fight down to the wire in November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    “It’s my home race so I’ll be going happily there to win the race and hopefully keep my chances alive,” said Barrichello, who is hoping that the handling of his Brawn will be more to his liking in Brazil, in an interview with BBC Sport.

    “I wasn’t happy with the set-up for the whole race. I was struggling big time with the tyres on the car. Kimi Raikkonen just gained a hell of a lot on me.

    “When we had the same tyres on to begin with, I felt OK, but I couldn’t get it back. I would have finished sixth if it wasn’t for the safety car, but that was the best I could have aimed for.”

    Despite making up only one point on Button, leaving his team-mate needing only a third place in Brazil to seal the title, Barrichello said that he was happy with the result.

    “I did what I had to do,” said Barrichello. “It was a superb lap in Q3 to stay in front of him and to finish the weekend in front of him because, at the end of the day, when you are not happy with the car you struggle. And when you struggle you don’t go fast.”

  4. After the race Jenson Button believes that Nico Rosberg gained an advantage under the late safety car period, but Nico Rosberg downplays the incident. Even the race stewards have agreed with no penalty applied to the Williams driver. See the full extract below – article.

    Nico Rosberg is adamant that he gained no advantage when he pitted under the safety car despite accusations that he went faster than the minimum sector time drivers must adhere to when the race is under caution.

    The Williams driver finished fifth after making his final pitstop in the safety car period triggered by Jaime Alguersuari’s crash at 130R, leading to Jenson Button, who was hoping to leapfrog the German, claiming that he had gained as much as four seconds.

    But Rosberg insists that he did not speed under the safety car and is confident that he will not be hit with a 25-second penalty that would drop him to 15th place and hand Brawn the extra points it needs to clinch the Constructors’ Championship.

    “What I can say is that for sure I didn’t gain an advantage,” Rosberg told BBC Sport. “We analysed everything and we didn’t gain an advantage, so we need to see. They still want to analyse it, but it should be fine.

    “They are up there [in the stewards’ room] discussing at the moment, so that’s all I can say for now. But what they [Button] say is incorrect for sure.”

    Rosberg claims that he was not faster than the lap delta issued to drivers for each sector, meaning that he should not get a penalty.

    “When the safety car comes out we have a lap delta, that comes into our steering wheel and we have to drive to that,” said Rosberg. “There is a line just at the beginning of the pit entry and to ensure that we go slowly all the way back to the pits, slowly past the accident, we have to be exactly spot on for that minimum time.

    “It says plus or minus and you just have to follow that and so long as you are in plus by the time you get to that line there then you are fine.

    “As far as I am concerned I definitely did what I should do so I think it should be fine.”

    Rosberg was summoned by the race stewards after the race to look at the incident.

    The Japanese Grand Prix stewards have decided Nico Rosberg did not deserve a penalty and so the Constructors’ Championship is still up for grabs.

    Rosberg and Williams technical director Sam Michael were summoned by the stewards after the race following claims from Jenson Button that the German had set his best sector time during the safety car period.

    Button reckoned he could have beaten the German had he been slower and the Briton expected Rosberg to be penalised.

    A penalty would have given Button’s Brawn team the title, as it needs just 0.5 points to clinch it and both the Briton and team-mate Rubens Barrichello would have moved up a position.

    The stewards, however, deemed Rosberg had done nothing wrong.

    “The Race Director reported to the Stewards that Car No 16, Nico Rosberg exceeded the time delta from when the ‘Safety Deployed’ message was displayed until crossing the Safety Car line,” a statement from the FIA said.

    “The Stewards met with the drivers and the team representatives and considered the telemetry data, GPS records, timekeeping and video evidence. This evidence showed a ‘low fuel’ message on the drivers display had overridden the time delta information preventing the driver from being able to accurately follow the timing information.

    “However the telemetry data shows that the driver from a safety point of view had reacted adequately to the yellow flags and safety car boards. In view of this the stewards intend to take no further action.”

  5. Adrian Sutil was left lamenting his clash with Heikki Kovalainen, blaming the Finn for the collision that made him spun and lose positions at the Japanese Grand Prix.

    Sutil was chasing down the McLaren driver for ninth position and dove down the inside at the chicane, but the duo made contact and the German spun and lost all chances of a good result.

    The Force India driver claimed he had already passed Kovalainen and felt the Finn was to blame for the incident.

    “It was a really disappointing race,” said Sutil. “The start was OK and I could keep my position but then I fell back to ninth and was caught behind Kovalainen.

    “I got past him at the chicane but then he cut back across and I spun and lost a lot of time. That was really the end of the race for me.

    “When that happens it’s obviously very disappointing as I thought we could have done really well today and got some points. We’ve just got to look forward to Brazil now – it’s a similar type of circuit to here where the car has been competitive.”

    Sutil, who had qualified in fourth place before a five-position grid penalty, went on finish in 14th, just behind team-mate Tonio Liuzzi.

    The Italian, starting from the back of the grid, was satisfied with his race.

    “Overall I think it was not a bad race,” he said. “Starting from that position it was always going to be difficult to score points but we showed a strong pace in the race and never gave up.

    “I could have a really good fight with Fernando [Alonso] and the Williams, plus also the Toro Rosso so I think it was a good effort from the team.”


  6. Heikki Kovalainen has blamed Adrian Sutil for causing the collision that cost both potential points finishes in the Japanese Grand Prix.

    Sutil attempted to pass the Finn for eighth at the chicane on lap 14, but the pair made contact as they approached the second apex, spinning the Force India driver and delaying Kovalainen.

    The German blamed Kovalainen for the incident, saying: “I got past him at the chicane but then he cut back across,” but the McLaren driver was adamant that he was not left enough room.

    “Adrian tried to make a move, but only went halfway,” said Kovalainen. “So I was able to stay beside him.

    “When he tried to turn in, I was already on the kerb and I had no more room to avoid him. So I had to lean on him and that was more a problem for him.”

    Kovalainen, whose McLaren future remains uncertain, added that he was pushing hard through the race, and that he was able to use KERS boost to pass the Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella as the pair emerged from the pits after their second stops.

    “I’m absolutely on the limit of my car and we’re still lacking grip in the high-speed corners, so it’s not possible for me to attack any harder,” said Kovalainen. “I pushed from the start to the finish.

    “My second pitstop wasn’t fantastic as we had a problem with the right front wheel, so Giancarlo was able to get out right in front of me. I was able to release the pitlane speed-limiter earlier and immediately got on KERS. He gave me some room, so it was quite an easy move – nothing too dramatic.”


  7. Nick Heidfeld said fourth place at the Japanese Grand Prix was possible, but the German was left lamenting a problem during his second pitstop.

    “Today was not our lucky day,” said the BMW Sauber driver after finishing in sixth position.

    “I’m very disappointed with this result. Fourth place was within reach but several things went wrong today, especially at the second pitstop when the rear right wheel nut got stuck. But certainly I don’t want to complain.

    “These things can happen and normally we have very good pitstops. That was when I lost a position to Kimi, and I rejoined the race just behind him. When the safety car came out I lost another position to Nico, who was lucky to refuel while the safety car was out.”

    Heidfeld’s team-mate Robert Kubica also felt luck had not been on his side over the weekend, the Pole coming home in ninth position.

    “The entire weekend was unlucky for me,” he said. “Yesterday I wasn’t able to show my good pace due to the red and yellow flags. Today I was stuck in traffic a couple of times. Furthermore I lost much time at the beginning of the race with a heavy and understeering car.

    “Once the car was lighter and I got into my rhythm I was quite quick. I was then very unlucky with my first pit stop, as after the stop both Kimi and Nick were in front of me. That cost me time.

    “Also after the safety car period I was in traffic. I was stuck behind Jenson. I was quicker than him in the corners, but was not able to overtake as we were missing some top speed on the straights.”


  8. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished the Japanese Grand Prix in fourth position but the Finn believes that the team’s third place in the constructors’ standings is under threat with two races remaining. Read on for his views as taken from

    Kimi Raikkonen believes it will be hard for Ferrari to keep third place in the championship despite his fourth position at the Japanese Grand Prix.

    The Finn enjoyed a strong race to finish behind McLaren rival Lewis Hamilton, whose team is now just two points behind Ferrari with two races left.

    Raikkonen admitted he was comfortable with his car today, but claimed it was lacking speed to beat Hamilton.

    “Today the car wasn’t bad, but it was not quick enough to fight for the podium,” said Raikkonen. “This fourth place is useful in terms of keeping the team in third place in the Constructors’ Championship, but it will be hard to hang onto it over the final two races. I will definitely do everything I can though.

    “I was unable to make up places at the start, especially as the first corner is not that far from the start line and so I was unable to make the most of the KERS.

    “In the first stint, when I was on hard tyres, the situation was a bit difficult, but then, once on the softs, things improved considerably.

    “I managed to close on Heidfeld and pass him at the pit stop, even though, coming away from my stop, I found myself in traffic behind Button. Then there was not much to fight for to the end of the race.”

    Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella finished outside of the points again, down in 12th position, but the Italian said he was happier with his race pace.

    “I had a better feel for the car this weekend and I think the effect from that could be seen, although maybe not in terms of the results,” he said.

    “Today, I could run at a good pace, especially in the middle part of the race. It’s a shame I lost a place in my battle with Kovalainen. We managed to get ahead of him in the pit stop, but then he swerved across to the inside at the only point where I left the door slightly open and he leaned on me, managing to get by.

    “Towards the end, I had to fight off Sutil who was very quick and was on the soft tyre, while I was on the hard: at this point the KERS came in handy. Now I am looking forward to Interlagos in a more confident mood: it will be important to get a slightly better start position to try and finally make it into the points.”

  9. Sebastian Vettel is refusing to give up on his title hopes following his dominant win at the Japanese Grand Prix.

    Vettel was 25 points behind Jenson Button before the Suzuka race, but left Japan 16 points adrift after dominating the race from start to finish.

    It was his third win of the season and the fourth of his career.

    The Red Bull driver will now need to outscore Button by seven points at the Brazilian Grand Prix in order to take the title battle down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.

    Vettel admitted he approached the Suzuka weekend knowing it was all or nothing, and is still adamant that anything is possible in the two remaining races.

    “Well, to be honest I think it was pretty straightforward,” Vettel told BBC Sport. “Win here or that’s it. So you know I mean we took all risk and maximum attack and in the end it all paid off. Obviously now looking at the championship it looks better, still it is a big gap.

    “But we have seen, especially two years ago, anything can happen and anything is possible still. I think we have to exactly the same in the next two races and then you know we will see what the others are doing.

    “I never stopped [dreaming about the title]. I said before it is a great honour and a great pleasure to drive these cars many times in the season on a Sunday, especially when the weather is nice like today.

    “But the most important is the challenge, we want to find out who is the best and the best over a whole season. The ultimate target is to win the championship, that is why I am here and I think why we are doing this.”

    Vettel conceded today’s result, with Button down in eighth, was crucial for his title hopes.

    “It’s definitely important and in the end every win is nice,” Vettel said. “It was a great day today, a bit tight at the start, not knowing what to expect running down to Turn 1, looking to the right, looking at Jarno, looking to the left, in the mirror seeing Lewis.

    “I was kind of in the middle, approaching Turn 1 and quickly I realised that Jarno was about the same, and obviously Lewis at some point starts pressing his button. I had the inside, and therefore the advantage for the first two corners but still he came quite close on the outside.

    “After Turn 2 I realised I was ahead and then head down and try to push every single lap to increase the gap, and try to control the race from then onwards.”


  10. Jenson Button says his main target for the Brazilian Grand Prix is to avoid errors and hope for the best possible result in order to get closer to the title.

    The British driver finished Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix in eighth position to see his championship lead stay on a healthy 14 points from Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello with just two races remaining.

    Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, the dominant winner of the Suzuka race is 16 points behind.

    Button needs to finish in fifth position in Brazil to secure his first title, regardless of what his two rivals do.

    The championship leader made it clear, however, that his main goal will be to have an error-free weekend and pick up as many points as possible.

    “Well, it is all about mistakes,” Button told reporters after the Suzuka race. “With them they had a very fast car and for whatever reason they did not finish races. It is about finishing races and picking up points.

    “We obviously want the best result possible, which is to win races, and we will get as close as we can. But it is about not making mistakes, that is the most important thing.”

    He added: “Whatever happens in Brazil I will have a four-point lead. So, I lost a point today which is frustrating because my pace was very good compared to Rubens.

    “But I started a long way behind him, so losing one point is not so bad. And it is seven points per race rather than five points per race that he needs to be beat me by. So, it is not a bad position.

    “I go to Brazil positive and looking forward to the challenge, because it is going to be a challenge. Sebastian is quick and the Red Bull seems very quick.

    “It has still got high-speed corners, and they have showed they are quick on low-speed corners like Singapore, so they will be difficult to beat. And Rubens is always quick there – so it is going to be a challenging weekend, but a fun weekend as well.”

    Button’s Brawn team all but secured the constructors’ title at Suzuka, the Brackley team needing just half a point to be out of Red Bull’s reach.

    The Briton said the team has every reason to be proud this year.

    “I feel it will go our way when we go to Brazil, then everyone should be very, very proud of themselves in this team,” he said. “They have been through a lot. It has been a rollercoaster throughout the season but also last winter, so if it does happen then congratulations to everyone.

    “It is going to be a very emotional moment for them, if it happens here. And well done to Ross Brawn – he has achieved a lot in his Formula 1 career but this is very different from being a team owner.

    “Also, after such a difficult winter, we didn’t even think we would be on the grid in Australia so to come away with a victory there, and many victories this season, then to come away with the constructors’ title will be a very special feeling. But we will wait and see.”


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