High-five for Vettel in Japan

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Updated: October 13, 2013

Suzuka, Japan (SportsNetwork.com) – Sebastian Vettel won his fifth straight
grand prix on Sunday in Japan but will have to wait at least one more race
before he can clinch his fourth consecutive Formula One world championship.

Vettel prevailed in a hard-fought battle with his Red Bull teammate, Mark
Webber, and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. Vettel also capitalized on a two pit-stop
strategy, whereas Webber, who started on the pole, made three stops during the
53-lap Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit.

Grosjean passed Webber for the lead, while Vettel dropped to third on the
opening lap, which featured a crash involving Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde
and Marussia’s Jules Bianchi. It looked as though Vettel sustained damage to
his front wing during the incident, but it did not affect his performance.

Grosjean dominated for the first 30 laps before he made his second and final
stop, but he lost track position to both Vettel and Webber following his stop.

When Vettel pitted for the second time on lap 38, Webber moved into the lead
for the first time. Vettel returned to the track in third place but overtook
Grosjean for second three laps later.

Webber made his final stop on lap 42, allowing Vettel to grab the lead for
good. Vettel crossed the finish line 7.1 seconds ahead of Webber for his ninth
victory of the season and the 35th of his F1 career. The 26-year-old German
has won four of the last five Japanese GPs.

Vettel’s win coupled with a fourth-place finish for Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso
allowed Vettel to increase his points lead to 90 over Alonso. The Red Bull
driver would have secured the title in Japan if he had a lead of 100 points or
more.

If Vettel finishes fifth or better in the next grand prix on Oct. 27 in India,
he will claim the championship, regardless of what Alonso does for the
remainder of the season. After India, F1 heads to Abu Dhabi (Nov. 3) and then
Austin, Texas (Nov. 17) before the season concludes in Brazil (Nov. 24).

Grosjean finished third, while his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, completed the
top-five.