It was mixed feelings at Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel moved a step closer to a possible third World Title, whilst Mark Webber was hindered by a tangle with Romain Grosjean on the opening lap.
It was the best possible result for Vettel, who is aiming to become only the third driver in history to win three straight titles this year. With main title rival Fernando Alonso being eliminated in a first corner crash, he now moves to within four points of Alonso with five races to go.
The German dominated the race, winning by more than fifteen seconds by the end of the race.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend. Yesterday’s qualifying was perfect and today again, the balance of the car was amazing. We didn’t change too much at the stops; it just seemed to work fantastically well. I’m very happy, the guys have been pushing very hard and even though we didn’t have major upgrades here, it still seemed to come together and the balance was there – and that’s what made the difference today.”
“It’s a shame for Alonso, it’s not something you hope for and it could happen to us at the next race. We’ve seen this year there are a lot of up and downs and things change quickly – we have to keep our heads down and take it step by step,” he added.
Webber meanwhile was left deeply frustrated by the result, despite fighting back through the pack to finish ninth. In one interview, he slammed Grosjean as a “first lap nutcase.”
“I haven’t seen what happened at the start, but it’s been confirmed that it was Grosjean who hit me. We’re trying to fight for results each weekend and it doesn’t help so, yeah, it’s frustrating as a few of the big guys suffered out there today. We went onto a one stop strategy from then on, but I kept pushing, I didn’t give up and got something from it. To finish eight seconds off fifth, after the fact I was in reverse at one point – and also the safety car came in before I caught the back of the field – was something. I’ll come back in Korea.”
“A great result for Sebastian; to win in such a dominant fashion really closes up the Championship. It was a textbook drive for Sebastian today, he really was in a class of his own. The frustration for the team is the incident with Mark and Grosjean in Turn 2, where Grosjean completely misjudged the corner and hit Mark taking him out of the race,” team boss Christian Horner summarised.
“Mark then had to come into the pits for a safety check, change tyres and the nose and then, before he had a chance to join the back of the pack, the race re-started, so he was 20 seconds behind. His recovery from that far back thereafter was excellent and he drove very well. It’s a shame we couldn’t have got even more from today, but it’s always fantastic to win in Suzuka.”