Vettel roars back with Japanese GP win

SUZUKA, Japan, (Reuters) – Sebastian Vettel won the  Japanese Grand Prix to roar back into the Formula One title  reckoning yesterday while Jenson Button had his overall  advantage trimmed to 14 points with two races to go.

The Red Bull driver’s third victory of the season left the  22-year-old German 16 points adrift of Brawn’s Button, who  crawled agonisingly closer to the crown with a hard-fought  eighth place.

“Finally we made it, I was screaming on the radio … it’s  good to be back on first position also on Sunday,” said Vettel,  the first German from outside the Schumacher family to win  three races in a single season.

“It’s a shame that there’s only two races to go, but that’s  life,” he added, pointing out that Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen  made up a 17-point deficit on Lewis Hamilton two years ago to  take the title.

“We’re here to fight. Two more races like this and its  looking better,” he added. “Our task now is pretty  straightforward, we have to push ourself to the maximum and try  to win.”

Button’s closest rival, Brazilian team mate Rubens  Barrichello, crossed the line in seventh on a sunny afternoon  at Suzuka. He said his had been a boring race.

“I was struggling big time so it was a difficult afternoon  driving the car and the only way I made one more point on  Jenson here was the fact I qualified in front of him and that’s  what I have to be happy with,” said Barrichello.

“I’ve got to win (the next race in Brazil), win big time.”

Rosberg cleared

Italian Jarno Trulli was second for Toyota, who had just  one driver in their home race after Timo Glock crashed in  qualifying, to equal that team’s best result.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton hung on for third, with his car’s  KERS energy recovery system failing in the closing laps, ahead  of Ferrari’s Raikkonen.

Germany’s Nico Rosberg was fifth for Williams, with  stewards declining to take action against him for an alleged  speeding infringement while behind the safety car, while  BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld was sixth.

Button respected the decision, even if he did not agree  with it.

“Always when you think people have done something wrong and  they don’t get penalised, you are disappointed,” he said.

“But it’s not going to change anything massively, I don’t  think. The fight goes on.”

Had Rosberg been punished, the sanction would have handed  Brawn the constructors’ championship at the home of their  former owners Honda.

As it turned out, Brawn were left a tantalising half-point  away from becoming the first team to secure the constructors’  title in their debut season.

They now have 155 points to Red Bull’s 120.5, with a  maximum 36 still to be won.

Button would have clinched the drivers’ title had he scored  five points more than Barrichello but that had looked highly  unlikely when both were handed five-place grid penalties after  Saturday qualifying.

His chances receded even further when he ended the first  lap in 11th place, but he passed BMW-Sauber’s Robert Kubica and  was then gifted two more places when McLaren’s Heikki  Kovalainen and Force India’s Adrian Sutil collided just ahead  of him.

Vettel had led comfortably from pole position but his  advantage evaporated when the safety car was deployed late in  the race, after Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari crashed, and  stayed out until four laps from the finish.

The Spaniard was unhurt in the accident.

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