13/10/13 - 8:00 AM
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Japanese Grand Prix
LIVE
Suzuka Circuit • Race
avant-match

Race

Follow the Japanese Grand Prix live with Eurosport. The race starts at 08:00 on 13 October 2013. Find race results, standings, stats, scores and track info. Keep up with the top F1 drivers and teams including Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Valteri Bottas (Mercedes) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing).
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30
Toby Keel
Highlights 
 
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Many thanks for joining us - we'll be back in two weeks' time for the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi, where Sebastian Vettel will almost certainly finish up this drivers' championship. See you then!

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Mark Webber comes second, Romain Grosjean a brilliant third, Fernando Alonso an excellent fourth - and that keeps the title race alive, at least for one more race.

53/53

SEBASTIAN VETTEL WINS THE JAPANESE GRAND PRIX!

53/53 

Final lap, and Vettel cruising towards a win that will put him within grasp of his fourth consecutive title.

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That'll be good enough for a Red Bull 1-2, but the pass came too late for Webber to get into a tussle with his team-mate for the lead of this race. Vettel has won this through the brilliance of his tactical gurus in the garage - mixed in with a little of his own ability to go easy on tyres.

52/53

Webber very, very close on Grosjean into the chicane, almost goes into the back of him... and he's perfectly placed on the straight... Grosjean wedges into him... inches away... but Webber makes it past!

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This will be a ninth win of the season for the young German, incidentally...

51/53 

Vettel now has the luxury of coming off the accelerator - he is taking it easy and cruising, knowing that a fifth consecutive win is in the bag.

50/53 

Grosjean driving brilliantly to defend on what are very old tyres indeed - and he and Webber now find some traffic, which will mix things up a bit.

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Webber has a look at Grosjean into the Spoon Curve - but no dice. This is officially only a battle for second place now.

49/53 

One more lap gone, and Webber once again fails to take Grosjean - Webber just not quick enough, or grippy enough, to stay close to Grosjean coming into the straight, and all the DRS in the world wouldn't have got him close enough.

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Vettel taking full advantage of Webber's woes, pulling nearly 8 seconds clear now. Five laps left, and no chance...

48/53 

Webber up close-ish on Grosjean this time round.... and once again he's too far back! Grosjean stays second, and I'm wondering now if Webber's gamble on the soft option tyre is already going off on him. They've been going very quickly all weekend...

47/53

Big miss for Webber! He fails to get past Grosjean on the start-finish straight after not tucking up close enough at the chicane, and he'll be stuck behind Grosjean for at least another lap. That will surely hand the race to Vettel!

46/53 

Vettel comes on the radio ordering his team to tell Webber to stop racing - but Webber is retiring and won't give a damn.

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Webber is right up on the back of Grosjean now - Grosjean off the track at one point in that last lap.

45/53 

Vettel is 6.8 seconds ahead of Webber now - Grosjean still in between the two Red Bulls, but Grosjean surely has to stop once more... or will he try and risk it?

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Webber's first half-lap on the new tyres sees him cut half a second off Vettel's lead! With nine laps left that suggests that he'll catch his team-mate... but not until the very final lap or two.

44/53 

Vettel has been lapping very quickly these last few laps, and his lead over Vettel is actually almost eight seconds right now. Hard to see any chance for Webber to close up.

43/53 

Webber puts on the softer option tyre - and he's now got 10 qualifying laps in a row, effectively, to try and catch Vettel and win this race!

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Webber has run far enough that he might get to the end of the race on the medium tyre... and now he comes in - we'll see what he goes for!

42/53 

Vettel is likely to have a six-second lead once Webber has stopped.

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"Good job Sebastian - now it's about conserving your tyres until the end," the team crew tell Vettel, who'll be in the lead any second now as Mark Webber's last trip to the pits is imminent.

41/53 

Vettel right on Grosjean's bumper into the chicane - Grosjean defends, but Vettel then makes it past him on the start-finish straight! The champion-elect used his DRS at the last moment to pull off that move, though he probably didn't even need it.

40/53 

Vettel is now being told to get past Grosjean, then start going easy on his tyres. "You'll come under pressure from Webber at the end of the race," they're telling him. Could be a great team-mate vs team-mate duel to come...

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"I had my best start of the season... I just can't believe it," says Lewis Hamilton, adding that the "car's floor was destroyed... it's a good thing they called me in."

39/53 

Quick update on Alonso: he's fifth, though Raikkonen is right on his tail. Vettel not going to win the title today rom the looks of it - even if it seems almost certain that he can now win this race.

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"Go get him!" Vettel's pit crew tell him on the radio, referring to Grosjean. Classic bit of Vettel driving coming up now...

38/53 

Vettel comes in to the pits, and he'll come out just behind Grosjean. Webber now leads, Grosjean seconds, Vettel third - but Vettel will last til the end of the race.

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This race is going to be all about who is quickest in the final stint - and Mark Webber could be the man, since he has the harder, medium tyre yet to come in the race. Brand new set left.

37/53 

Vettel loses a second to Webber in that last lap alone, and surely he must stop now - he's being reeled in a an alarming rate.

36/53 

Vettel still going - and now there's no doubt that he'll only have one more stop. Vettel leads by 8.4 seconds from Webber, and 19.8 seconds from Grosjean.

35/53 

Vettel comes through without stopping once more - and the way this is going, we could be set for a thrilling finish with all of the top three duelling on wearing tyres with just a few seconds between them. Grosjean now gaining a quarter of a second a lap, but Vettel has as many stops to come as either Webber or Grosjean.

34/53 

Vettel leads Webber by 10 seconds, with Grosjean sticking at around 20 seconds back - doens't look like Vettel is gaining or losing, so with that in mind he's doing well to stay out.

33/53 

Ricciardo is penalised for coming off the track and gaining an advantage - a shame, as he was the sole driver on the track trying to make something happen. He'll still be in the top 10 once he's done his drive-through, though.

32/53 

Laps 33-36 were pencilled in as the ideal for a two-stop strategy, incidentally - Vettel doesn't stop this time, so probably the next lap will be it.

31/53 

Vettel is 20.8s ahead of Grosjean - but he needs 22s to get in and out of the pits. Could be a very tight one, and he'll need a great lap or two to try and get as close to that 22s mark as he can.

30/53 

Grosjean's slow last few laps combined with Webber's speed on that clear track mean that Webber now leads the Japanese Grand Prix in real terms, depite being second - though there's still a chance that Vettel might be going for a two-stopper.

29/53 

Vettel is told to "put pressure on Grosjean" on the radio - and the lead is down to under a second now. Grosjean has seen enough and he's come in for a second pitstop.

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Webber setting a string of fastest laps right now, while Grosjean is trying to keep Vettel at bay... in vain, though, as Vettel is reeling him in.

28/53 

"We're not racing Mark, we're racing Grosjean" the pit crew tell Vettel over the radio. Does that mean that Red Bull think Webber is just quicker here?

27/53 

Vettel's turn to close up on Grosjean now, and he took almost a second out of the lead in the last completed lap. Vettel still a couple of hundred yards back though.

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Webber has been up to the back of Grosjean for a couple of laps - and now he comes in to pit, rejoining in third place with only Charles Pic between him and the leaders. Great chance to make up some time with clear track.

26/53 

Vettel is 2.5 seconds behind Webber despite the Aussie's turning up the pace to catch the leader.

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Webber up to inside half a second of Grosjean now...

25/53 

Button comes in for his second stop - the mechanic on his right-rear tyre has some trouble, though, and he ends up rejoining in 16th place.

24/53 

Webber's instructions DO mean let rip! He sets his quickest lap, and has cut Grosjean's lead by a second.

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Webber's pit crew tell him on the radio to switch his engine from '2-1' to '2-2', whatever that means... is he about to let rip?

23/53 

The front of the race is still a procession - Webber and Vettel cruising with two seconds between them, and about two seconds behind Grosjean. There's a 22-second gap down to Hulkenberg in fourth place.

22/53 

Ricciardo pits at last - he'll be wishing that he'd come in a lap or two earlier, however. Remains to be seen how much of an advantage he'll have by only needing one more stop from here on in...

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Massa in all sorts of trouble now - Alonso slipped past him on the start finish straight, and now he's going wheel-to-wheel to Raikkonen.

21/53 

Ricciardo gets overtaken - and he's got just four cars behind him now as Hulkenberg, Alonso and Massa go past him.

20/53 

Daniel Ricciardo is running in fourth place, and he's got a snaking tail of six cars behind him as his knackered tyres struggle for grip.

19/53 

Grosjean starting to open up a little, and has extended his lead to 2.5 seconds.

18/53 

Alonso promoted to seventh place courtesy of the drive-through penalty for Nico Rosberg - if it stays like that, the title will not be decided today.

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Grosjean is 1.5s ahead of Webber, Webber 3.5s ahead of Vettel - but this phase of the race is all about managing the tyres rather than just driving very quickly.

17/53 

Rosberg is given a drive-through penalty for that unsafe release - bit of a nightmare race for Mercedes so far...

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Vettel scythes 0.4 seconds out of the leading duo in one sector of his 16th lap!

16/53 

Vettel's mechanics tell him that he's closing the gap on Grosjean and Webber - all the cars on the harder tyre for this second stint, incidentally, which are much quicker.

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Vettel might have stayed out longer, but he had a four-wheel brake lock three corners from the end of that lap - possibly that forced his hand a little.

15/53 

Vettel comes in at the start of lap 15 - textbook time to stop on a two-stop strategy, and he comes out behind Grosjean and Webber.

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Vettel one of a very few drivers yet to pit, and with a 16-second advantage he might just get out in front. And it seems he might be on a two-stopper...

14/53 

Alonso had been running in second place, but now comes in - and rejoins in 8th place.

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Mercedes release Rosberg in the pits straight into the path of Sergio Perez - the two cars very nearly collide, and two Lotus mechanics literally have to dive for over. Rosberg will get hammered with a penalty, no question.

13/53 

Our leader Romain Grosjean comes in to the pits - and he's back out ahead of Mark Webber.

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Webber coming in as early as lap 12 suggests a three-stop strategy, incidentally...

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Jenson Button's just set the quickest lap of the race as he's now on the harder compound and looking good.

12/53 

Webber comes into the pits! He comes out in sixth place. Massa also comes in, as does Kimi Raikkonen.

11/53 

Grosjean is now three seconds clear - that's starting to get too big for comfort, and the Red Bulls will need to do something.

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Nothing to report at the front of the race: Grosjean isn't being challenged by the two Red Bulls, which are happy to conserve tyres at the moment as we're four or five laps from the likely first pit stop.

10/53 

Hamilton's retirement means that the team can save the mileage on his engine, and also install a new gearbox without penalty ahead of the next race.

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Nico Rosberg runs wide and comes off the track - but just into a run-off area and he retains fourth place, though the two Ferraris are right up on him now.

9/53

Lewis Hamilton is out of the Japanese Grand Prix - with continued problems, just no point carrying on think his Mercedes team. Guess they'll save some fuel, tyres and wear and tear....

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Massa is given 'team strategy K' as his instruction over the radio - no doubt an instruction to let Alonso through at the first convenient opening.

8/53 

Fernando Alonso is running in sixth place at the moment, behind team-mate Felipe Massa - and Massa, with an eye on his prospects next year, will do whatever he can to show his mettle.

7/53 

"Save your tyres" the pit crew tell Vettel - they've told him not to get any closer than two seconds to Webber. With at least two and possibly three pit stops to come, that's probably why.

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Vettel having all sorts of issues through the chicane - sawing away at the wheel and ending up off the track briefly.

6/53 

Lewis Hamilton tells his pit crew that "the car's all over the place" following that crash. He spent most of a lap without a tyre, and the underside of the car definitely got damaged. He's losing a second a lap - and you have to wonder how much longer he'll be able to carry on.

5/53 

Grosjean is a second ahead of Webber, Vettel a further 1.5 seconds back - and the yellow flags are now cleared. Strange that Vettel is so far back - with his poor start, his KERS issues in qualifying and the fact that his brakes were smoking on the grid, just wondering if his car is really in proper shape...

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Yellow flag is still out, incidentally - it's taking them a while to remove Bianchi and Van der Garde's cars from the gravel.

4/53 

A replay of the start shows that Lewis Hamilton had belted in front of Vettel - but the contact instantly punctured his right rear tyre. Vettel very lucky - his worst start of the season by a mile, but he's got out of it in third place, and is 1.4 seconds adrift.

3/53 

Still a yellow flag out - Van der Garde and Bianchi took each other out at the start, incidentally. Idiotic.

2/53 

Hamilton rejoins three-quarters of a lap behind the field. Big ask to get back in the points from there.

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Yellow flags out, incidentally, as Hamilton's rear right tyre has completely gone.

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Vettel has been on the radio worrying about his front right wheel - but the pit crew tell him on the radio that everything is fine.

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LEWIS HAMILTON HAS BEEN CLATTERED! He's going very slowly up to turn two, and he comes together with Vettel. Vettel carrying on okay, Hamilton has trouble and is slowing right down.

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Amazing start! Romain Grosjean gets the jump on everyone, taking first place - and Vettel slips back to third!

1/53 

FIVE LIGHTS ON - LIGHTS OUT AND WE'RE AWAY!

07:03 

The cars are lining up on the grid - Adrian Sutil comes into place...

07:02 

Vettel is the only driver on the grid who hasn't lost a position at the start at any point so far this season. That's a stunning record of consistency.

07:00 

The parade lap gets under way in Japan - would love to see inside Mark Webber's head at this point with the pressure building. After the awful starts he's had this season he'd love to have a good one today.

06:57 

Having said that, the last time Alonso failed to score at least four points in a race this season was back in Malaysia in the second race of the year.

06:50 

Since qualifying took place it has emerged that Sebastian Vettel qualified second despite not having KERS - that's a loss of 80bhp at certain key parts of the circuit, and the only reason Vettel wasn't on pole ahead of Webber.

06:45 

Blazing sunshine and not a cloud in the sky for the race today - perfect conditions, which will make it almost impossible for anyone to stop the Red Bulls, barring a crash at the first corner between the first two on the grid.

06:40 

Mark Webber has a chance of spoiling his team-mate's party, however: on pole for today's race, the Aussie has as good a chance as he'll ever get of picking up a victory in his final season in the sport.

06:35 

A fifth consecutive win today for Sebastian Vettel could bring him the title, if Fernando Alonso fails to carry on his record of wringing outstanding race performance out of his Ferrari. Alonso must finish eighth or higher to keep the title race alive, should Vettel win.

06:30 

Welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.