• Japanese Grand Prix

Post-race driver rundown

Laurence Edmondson and Martin Williamson
October 10, 2010
Sebastian Vettel soaks up his win © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel 1st
It was a faultless drive to give him a win that never really looked in doubt after the first corner. Having Webber as a rear gunner helped but he always had plenty in reserve just in case. It's exactly what he needed for his championship and means two more victories ahead of his team-mate will see him tying on points heading into the final race.

Mark Webber 2nd
Webber produced a smart drive that played the percentages and helped him extend his championship lead at the top of the table. He was slightly lucky when Kubica's wheel came off under the safety car as that eliminated what could have been a very serious headache, especially as Alonso had a strong race pace behind him.

Fernando Alonso 3rd
He limited the damage to his title chances against two unbeatable Red Bulls today. Ferrari was outclassed all weekend and he now needs the remaining tracks to play to the F10's strength. With the pendulum swinging form race-to-race, and a completely new circuit coming up at Korea, that is entirely possible.

Jenson Button 4th
His strategy didn't pay off but he was in the third fastest car today and finished accordingly. It was probably worth taking the risk on hard tyres at the start as he simply didn't have the pace to match the top three or Hamilton in normal circumstances. The championship is drifting away and he now needs a repeat of China or Australia to get himself back in contention.

Lewis Hamilton 5th
By far the unluckiest man in Japan. Two gearbox failures in one weekend is unheard of and it's testimony to his huge talent that he managed to finish as high as he did without first, second and third gears for almost half the race. The good news for him is that he will get a free gearbox change ahead of Korea, but 28 points is a pretty big gap with three races remaining.

Michael Schumacher 6th
It was a welcome return to form for the seven-time world champion and six-time Suzuka winner. His ability to stay within 0.5 seconds of Rosberg lap-after-lap was impressive and it was good to see him refrain from attempting a do or die manoeuvre. In the end Rosberg lost his wheel and Schumacher cruised to a strong result.

Kamui Kobayashi 7th
He is fast cementing a reputation as the most entertaining driver on the grid. The hairpin at Suzuka has not been a traditional overtaking spot in recent years but his commitment through the tricky Degner corners meant he could pull pass-after-pass on his competitors. The fans loved it and the team loved it... only Alguersuari seemed to have a problem.

Nick Heidfeld 8th
A very welcome return to the points for Heidfeld who followed up a solid qualifying performance with four points in the race. With Sergio Perez confirmed at Sauber next year, he needs to impress in these final races to stand a chance of keeping his place in F1. It was a good start but he now has to outperform Kobayashi at the final three races to really impress.

Rubens Barrichello 9th
Williams should have scored more than two points at Suzuka after a solid qualifying session in the morning. Barrichello complained of terrible vibrations during the race and that goes someway to explaining his disappointing finish. But with both Force Indias failing to finish this was a missed opportunity for Williams in its battle for sixth in the constructors' championship.

Tonio Liuzzi's Force India disintegrates after being hit by Felipe Massa © Sutton Images
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Sebastien Buemi 10th
After problems with his car in the morning and an 18th place grid position, one point was a good result for Buemi. He showed plenty of promise on Friday which he didn't really live up to, but he didn't make any errors in the race and tenth place was his reward.

Jaime Alguersuari 11th
He could have scored a point had he not tried to resist Kobayashi's move at the hairpin. The resulting front wing change dropped him a lap off the pace, but he won't find much sympathy in the paddock. After the race he said: "I hope my team principal is happy that I was very determined." Finishing in the points would probably have made him happier.

Heikki Kovalainen 12th
A new highest finish for a new team takes Lotus one step closer to securing the lucrative 10th place in the constructors' championship. He dropped off the pace towards the end of the race to make sure he took the position but still only finished one lap off Vettel.

Jarno Trulli - 13th
Lotus' best race of the season, and although he finished a lap behind the winner, they were by some way the best of the newcomers. He suffered hydraulics problems near the end but even so he was not threatened.

Timo Glock - 14th
Got stuck behind Yamamoto's HRT for most of the race but nonetheless would not have been able to make inroads into the quicker pace of the Lotus drivers.

Bruno Senna - 15th
After being outperformed by Christian Klien in Singapore, it was as you were with the return of Yakamoto, allowing Senna his best return of the year, two laps behind Vettel but one ahead of his team-mate.

Sakon Yamamoto - 16th
For once his lack of speed stood him in good stead as it allowed him to avoid the chaos at the start and record his best finish of the season. However, he was still last of those who completed the race, three laps off the pace.

Nico Rosberg - DNF
For once his team-mate was in the quicker car but unable to pass him, although neither was up with the pace, and was a distant sixth when he

Adrian Sutil - DNF
A good start saw him climb to ninth from 15th (aided by crashes ahead of him) and he was in the points when his engine started spewing oil on Lap 45.

Tonio Liuzzi - DNF
When things are going against you … for the second race running has failed to make it past lap two because of errors by others. Made a great start from 17th, but smacked side-on by Massa at the first corner - he never had a chance.

A dejected Massa after his first-lap exit © Press Association
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Felipe Massa - DNF
Dreadful error of judgment, forced wide onto the grass to avoid trouble and get inside Rosberg at the start but lost grip, veered across the track and wiped out an innocent Liuzzi and himself . Given all the noises in the last fortnight from the Ferrari camp about him needing to support Alonso, there have to be doubts starting to be raised about his seat in 2011.

Robert Kubica - DNF
Started third, passed Webber off the grid, avoided the early pile-ups but while under the safety car his rear wheel came off, fortunately at slow speed.

Vitaly Petrov - DNF
Barely made it over the start line before making a woeful mistake, cutting into Hulkenberg, sending him careering spectacularly off the track into the barriers. Initially claimed he was clipped form behind, then that he had to swerve to avoid Heidfeld. Replays suggested the blame was all his; the five-place penalty handed out by stewards supported that.

Nico Hulkenberg - DNF
Clipped by Petrov at the start, sustained damage to his front wheel that ended his race. "It was unfortunate for us both," he said, showing saint-like restraint.

Lucas di Grasse - DNF
A 150mph crash caused by suspension failure on his way to the grid ended his day before it began. He walked away shaken but unharmed but the car was all but destroyed. "I just lost control," he shrugged. "I'm glad I am safe."

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