Race

15:00 All the cars have got away from the grid cleanly so we are now one parade lap away from the start of the race.

di Grassi says he just lost control but does not understand why. He doesn't think it was a mistake he made.

14:59 The engines are being fired up and the mechanics are clearing the grid.

14:55 Tom ask: "I've read that should the front wings on the Red Bull car still dip then even more stringent tests will be introduced. Is the overall aim to stop flexing, or to maintain a minimum ride height for the wing, and are those two necessarily the same thing?"

Ride height and flexing wings are two different things and the Red Bull's low front wing is probably due to a combination of both. Red Bull agreed to even stricter tests earlier this year but McLaren vetoed that. Personally, I think Red Bull have done a brilliant job to build a car better than the others that passes scrutineering at every race. Whatever they are doing is clearly pretty smart and that's what F1 is about.

14:50 Confirmation of that from Virgin: "Race engineers closely analysing the pre crash data. We don't think there was a breakage though."

14:49 Virgin's John Booth says di Grassi is OK but adds that the team did not see anything abnormal in the telemetry to suggest something broke. A very strange incident.

14:47 Some work is going on on Webber's front left brake. The team insists it's not a problem.

14:46 Alonso has some concerns about his practice starts at the end of the pit lane and was in deep conversation with his engineers.

14:44 Force India on the weather prospects for the next two hours: "Our forecast says no sign of rain over the track during the race. The hills close may get some but it should miss circuit"

14:43 Virgin don't know what happened to di Grassi either: "We have no idea what happened there as we haven't heard from Lucas yet. But we will check timo's car and carry on as usual"

14:40 It looks as though the rest of the cars have made it to the grid. Button is there and he says he is happy to be the only man in the top 10 on hard tyres.

14:36 Lucas di Grassi has destroyed his car at 130R on the way to the grid. It looked as though he ran wide and got on the astroturf, then completely lost control of the car and slammed into the barrier.

The car is in a terrible way with no rear wing and one of the wheels ripped right off. It looks like a rookie error but we'll have to wait to hear from the team.

14:30 Welcome back to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. This morning's qualifying session saw the Red Bulls dominate and all the signs point towards a battle at the front between team-mates Sebastian Vettel (on pole) and Mark Webber.

Lewis Hamilton qualified third but took a five-place penalty for an overnight gearbox change and will start eighth. Fernando Alonso is hoping for a good start but will have to get past Robert Kubica if he wants to fight the Red Bulls today.

Lap 1

Great start by Kubica up to second as Petrov spears off before the first corner. The safety car is out. Massa is also off at turn one.

Liuzzi is also out and Hulkenberg, we need a replay to figure out what happened.

Lap 2

Safety car. Rosberg has pitted, presumably to go straight to hard tyres, possibly for damage.

A replay shows two separate incidents. Petrov got a great start but then clipped Hulkenberg as he tried to get past on the pit straight.

Massa was way to aggressive into turn one and tried to overtake Rosberg on the grass. It didn't work and he lost control and slammed into the innocent Liuzzi.

Lap 3

Vettel just reminded of the safety car protocol by his team. Petrov's car is being cleared away now.

Kubica has slowed and is out of the race. He appeared to lose drive behind the safety car and his great start has come to nothing. What a shame.

Lap 4

Hamilton is up to fifth behind team-mate Button in fourth. Not a bad start for McLaren.

Kubica lost his wheel and that is the reason he stopped.

The safety car is staying out for another lap.

Lap 5

Schumacher has also come out well from the first corner carnage and is up to seventh.

The top five are now the top five in the championship.

Lap 6

The safety car is still on track.

Hamilton is told to try to keep his brakes cool, but it should sort itself out when we get back up to race speed.

Kubica's wheel just came off at the hairpin, no contact just a loose lug nut by the looks of it.

Lap 7

Safety car is in, Vettel leads, Alonso is close to Webber but not close enough to make a move.

Button is keeping up with Alonso on his hard tyres. That decision could be crucial in this race.

Rosberg passes Buemi into 130R but runs wide and gathers up a huge slide.

Schumacher is past Barrichello into the final chicane and holds position into turn one.

Lap 8

Rosberg is back behind Buemi now but will try another move soon.

Force India says: "Tonio says he was hit by massa in first corner. He had had a good start but then massa came out of nowhere and tonio was just a passenger"

Lap 9

The Red Bulls are extending their lead at the front. Vettel leads Webber by 1.1 seconds and Alonso is 1.8 off Webber.

Hamilton is just 0.4 behind Button and is itching to get past on his softer tyres.

Lap 10

Vettel increases his gap to 1.6 seconds and is just easing away into the distance at the moment.

Lap 11

Webber responds with a lap matching Vettel to stabilise the gap at 1.5 seconds. Further down the field Sutil is closing on Heidfeld.

Lap 12

Yamamoto is coming under pressure from Trulli over 15th place.

Hamilton is undoubtedly being held up by Button at the moment but he does not have the extra pace to get past. Hamilton could miss out on a race with Alonso as a result. But understandably Button doesn't want to give anything away.

Lap 13

Vettel sets another fastest lap and is now 2.0 seconds ahead of Webber. Alonso is 5.6 off Vettel, Button is 7.7 off the leader.

Kobayashi just muscled his way past Alguersuari at the hairpin. He made contact on the way through and held a pretty big slide too.

Lap 14

Hamilton may have to settle behind Button and is 1.0 second off his team-mate.

Lap 15

Webber is keeping Vettel honest and has the gap down to 1.8 seconds. Alonso is 4.2 off Webber and this is fast becoming a two-horse race.

Trulli has got past Yamamoto for 15th. Now it's Glock's turn to have a go.

Lap 16

Sutil has been off the track at the final corner but we did not see it on the TV stream. He's still in ninth though.

Lap 17

Vettel's pace has been relentless until now but Webber has just taken 0.4 seconds out of him in the first sector, so maybe a mistake by the lead Red Bull. Alonso has just matched Webber's lap time.

Lap 18

Alonso is now reining Webber in but we're talking about hundredths of a second not tenths.

Kobayashi passes Sutil with another hard-nosed move at the hairpin. Sutil tries to respond but cannot find a way back past and pits at the end of the lap.

Lap 19

The Massa/Liuzzi and Petrov/Hulkenberg incidents are under investigation. I would say Massa's fault and Petrov's fault. They were pretty clear cut mistakes.

Lap 20

Webber still just holding onto Vettel's coat tails, the gap is now 2.3 seconds.

Lap 21

Barrichello pits from seventh. So 20 laps in and the tyres are starting to go off.

Lap 22

Sutil was the trigger for the pit stops as he is now lapping quickly. Hamilton is looking to pit soon.

Alguersuari also pits from ninth.

Lap 23

If the Red Bulls pitted now they would rejoin just behind Schumacher so they will be keen to pull out a bit more of a lead.

Hamilton comes in from fifth. A very clean stop but he comes out behind Kobayashi and that will cost him for at least one lap.

Lap 24

Schumacher pits so the Red Bulls are ready to go in when they want. Alonso's team are ready for him.

Kobayashi has stayed out, costing Hamilton more time.

Lap 25

Vettel pits. Alonso come in too. A clean stop for Vettel and Alonso's looked quite a bit slower.

Hamilton blasts past Kobayashi on the inside of turn one, a great move and crucial for his chances of beating Button.

Lap 26

Webber pits from the lead. A reasonable stop and he rejoins behind Vettel. Button leads.

Worth mentioning that Rosberg leapfrogged Schumacher by pitting early. However, the seven-time champion is now swarming over his team-mate's gearbox.

Hamilton set a blinding lap on his last attempt, the fastest of the race.

Lap 27

Schumacher had a nibble at Rosberg into the chicane but the younger German blocked it well. Schumacher then had another go into turn one but again Rosberg forced him to the outside.

Schumacher is much faster and has come alive for the first time this season. He's reminded to be sensible if he makes a move.

Lap 28

At the front Button is 3.5 seconds ahead of Vettel and will start to block him back into Webber and Alonso. Alonso is just 6.5 off the back of Webber.

Lap 29

Alonso is now the fastest man on the circuit with a 1:35.452 to close the gap to 6.2 seconds to Webber. We might still have a race on our hands, providing Button stays out for a long time on the hards and holds the Red Bulls up.

Meanwhile there is still a cracking fight between Rosberg and Schumacher. Schumacher is managing to stay within 0.5 seconds of Rosberg's gearbox, great driving.

Lap 30

Alonso continues to take time out of Webber. Vettel is 3.0 seconds off the back of Button.

Lap 31

Webber responds with a 1:35.329 but Alonso sets a 1:35.214. Webber is now just 2.2 behind Vettel as it starts to bunch up.

Lap 32

Hamilton could also join this race as he dips into the 1:35s. He is 4.8 seconds behind Alonso, who must have made a mistake as he is now 6.3 behind Webber.

Of course they are now lapping the backmakers so that will alter the gaps.

Lap 33

Vettel is now 1.7 seconds behind Button. Webber is 1.7 behind Vettel and Alonso is 5.5 seconds off that battle.

Schumacher is still 0.4 behind Rosberg but can't find a way past on this high-speed circuit without big braking zones.

Lap 34

So Button's strategy really hasn't worked and he will be thinking about pitting soon for a 15-20 lap run on the softs.

Lap 35

Vettel is now 1.5 seconds off Button. He will be hoping to see that McLaren disappear up the pit lane as soon as possible.

Alonso is told to put pressure on the Red Bulls to see if they respond. He comes back saying: "I'm trying, I just did a brilliant lap!" And he's right, it was very quick.

Lap 36

Hamilton is again the fastest man on the circuit and is 2.9 seconds behind Alonso.

Lap 37

Vettel is now 1.3 seconds off Button and has no need to get any closer. Webber is 1.5 seconds back but doesn't look too racey. Alonso is 4.2 seconds back on Webber. However, Hamilton has the gap to the Ferrari down to 2.2 seconds.

Lap 38

Button just set a personal best so clearly those hard tyres aren't past their best yet, but I should imagine the softs would be even quicker.

Button is about to pit.

Lap 39

Button comes into the pits, Vettel resumes his lead. Button comes out comfortably in fifth as Kobayashi also stops.

Vettel is setting fastest sectors now that he is in clear air.

Lap 40

Hamilton has lost third gear and has dropped to 5.2 seconds off Alonso.

Lap 41

Button is now the fastest man on the track with his new soft tyres and lowering fuel load. He took two seconds out of Hamilton so will probably pick him off soon.

Such bad news for Hamilton as he will not only lose out on acceleration but also struggle under braking as he'll have to hold onto fourth fractionally longer and lose some engine braking. Add to that that if he selects 2nd gear to early he will lock up the rear axle.

Lap 42

Button is now 4.2 seconds off Hamilton and is also closing on Alonso.

Lap 43

Button takes another 2 seconds off Hamilton, who is now 10 seconds adrift of Alonso.

Lap 44

The gap is now 0.6 seconds between Button and Hamilton and I should imagine Button will just breeze past.

Hamilton makes it very easy through the hairpin for Button.

Lap 45

Kobayashi has gone around the outside of Alguersuari into the hairpin with the help of a backmarker.

Lap 46

Sutil's engine lets go with a plume of smoke and he very nearly spins off in 130R on his own oil.

A replay of the Kobayashi move shows Alguersuari bumping into the side of the Sauber once he had been past and that broke the Toro Rosso's front wing. It was rather immature of Alguersuari and he's paid the price.

Lap 47

Button sets a new fastest lap but is 12 seconds off Alonso and won't close that gap with just 16 laps remaining.

Lap 48

Vettel leads by 2.4 seconds ahead of Webber, who is 2.1 up on Alonso.

Lap 49

Rosberg has had a massive accident at 130 mph at turn seven. The left rear wheel came off and he lost control. The wheel then bounced around.

Kobayashi is now past Barrichello and all over the back of Heidlfeld.

Lap 50

Kobayashi gets past Heidfeld at the hairpin but his Sauber team-mate didn't make it too difficult for him.

Lap 51

Kovalainen is now up to 12th which is very significant as it is the highest placing for a new team this season.

Lap 52

Vettel sets another fastest lap to go 2.7 seconds up on Webber.

Hamilton has hung onto fifth so far and is comfortably ahead of Schumacher.

Lap 53

Vettel wins, Webber second (with fastest lap), Alonso third and Button fourth.

Hamilton crosses the line in fifth. Schumacher sixth and home hero Kobayashi seventh after a ballsy drive through the field.

Vettel starts his final lap. He's cruising now, although Webber is having a stab at fastest lap behind him.