Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull grabbed his ninth win of the season at Suzuka

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 14, 2013

Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull grabbed his ninth win of the season at Suzuka. It was far from being an easy win with strong performances coming from team-mate Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean of Lotus. The German received maximum points, placing him very close to getting his fourth straight world championship. But then, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso took fourth place, which keeps him in the running as he could still catch up in the next race. Last Saturday, Webber earned pole position. However, Grosjean qualified for fourth place and quickly got past the two of them to take the lead in the first corner. The participation of Lewis Hamilton in the race was essentially over as he sprinted to the first corner. He was able to squeeze into a gap that was increasingly narrowing in-between Webber and Vettel.

Unfortunately, the front wing of Red Bull’s car made contact with Hamilton's right-rear tire and caused a puncture. The Briton went to the pits to get its tire replaced. It later had to retire because of handling issues. In the first few pit stops, Grosjean dominated. But he wasn’t able to get ahead of Webber by over two seconds. Vettel had also been just behind him at the third position.

Webber proceeded to get within one second of Grosjean as the race neared the halfway point. But then, it had to go to the pits to get new tires before it got the chance to pull ahead. It was a relatively early stop that forced him to a three-stop plan. It became apparent that the cars of the Red Bull team had split strategies. Vettel, who placed third, had conserved his second set of tires well and chose to have only two stops. He stayed on track and it wasn’t long before he had an impact on the Frenchman's lead.

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