Japanese GP Review: Vettel wins to gatecrash into the Championship Race

Ravikumar RajagopalCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2009

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 04:  Race winner Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium following the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 4, 2009 in Suzuka, Japan.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Sebastian Vettel drove his best race of the year to win the 2009 Japanese GP in a convincing style and still have a shot at the driver’s championship. With two races to go until the end, Vettel is trailing the leader Button by 16 points.

If Vettel manages to win both the races and if Button once again scores only the minimum amount of points, well, the Briton may not actually win the Championship which was in his hands during the first half of the season.

Rubens Barrichello managed to finish ahead of Button to score two vitals points and the gap between him and Button is now only 14 points, but Vettel has a better chance than Barrichello in the title hunt but though Button may win it in the end, he has to work extra hard for it.

Jarno Trulli had a very impressive race and with only one Toyota running, he raced in what could be the most important race for the team in its F1 history. His second place finish may have kept the team on the grid for next season, but it may also entice a driver like Kimi or even Kubica to join the Japanese outfit for 2010.

It was a flawless drive from Trulli who still showed everyone that he still has it in him while Glock, who could not take part in the race after his accident in qualifying, will feel a bit unlucky as he too would have been in point scoring position during the race.

Lewis Hamilton managed to come third and though he managed to finish ahead of Kimi in the race a lot will be going through his mind as there are enough reliable sources out there who suggest that Kimi is well on his way to McLaren for the next season.

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Although Hamilton kept a good pace, he was nowhere near Vettel and even with KERS. He could not catch up with him during the early part of the race while McLaren’s KERS which was supposed to be the best on the grid had to be deactivated for Hamilton for the second straight race. In the meantime, team-mate Heikki Kovalainen failed to score points and well after the next two races, he may have to struggle to find a seat with a top running team once again.

Kimi and Ferrari helped by lot of grid penalties managed to come in fourth while Rosberg came fifth and though he is the only scoring Williams driver so far this season, he has single-handedly put up the fight against teams like Renault and BMW.

He is, by far, the contender for the driver or the year accolade and he surely cannot stay with the under-performing Williams team for another season. It's time he joins either Brawn or McLaren to have any chance of going for the title.

Nick Heidfeld came sixth while team-mate Robert Kubica missed out on the points by coming in ninth just behind Button.

BMW now had found a buyer and is hoping to leave the sport on a high while both Heidfeld and Kubica are driving to just get better drives for the next season. Although Kubica is a wanted man, weirder things have happened in F1 and don’t be too shocked if Heidfeld goes to McLaren, as he was not only part of their young driver’s program, but was supposed to head there before Kimi sped his was past nick into the McLaren line-up.

Apart from Vettel, all the three other Red Bull cars had a miserable weekend.

Webber not only pitted for five times, but he had to start from the pits after he missed qualifying due to a crash during practice. His only consolation for the race was putting in the fastest lap of the race while Toro Rosso actually had a good car which was capable enough for points.

Both Buemi and Alguersuari ended up having a wild weekend; Buemi, apart from crashing a few times during qualifying, had to retire due to clutch issues, while Alguersuari who benefited with all the penalties on the grid started from twelfth, but had an accident which put him off the race and got the safety car involved.

Force India was expected to do well on this track, but some over ambitious driving from Sutil ensured that the team failed to score points while Liuzzi have so far done enough to suggest that he deserves a drive for the next year.

Despite the fact the rain did not play a part, we still saw a very strong performance from Vettel and he will go into the Brazilian GP as a clear favourit.

But don’t discount Rubens Barrichello who may use his home grand prix as the best place to assert himself in the title race.