The winner of the Japanese Grand Prix is Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who now closes in on championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Just four points now separate them. In going into the first corner, Alonso experienced a puncture after Kimi Räikkönen’s Lotus clipped his Ferrari’s left-rear tire. This left Felipe Massa to score points for Ferrari. Massa was able to get past McLaren’s Jenson Button and Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi in the first pit stops. He was able to maintain his No. 2 position until the end of the race, which is first podium for 2012. Button, who trailed Kobayashi to the end, fell behind by only one-second at the flag. Local celebrity Kobayashi took third place finish – only the third native driver to finish on the podium at Suzuka about 22 years after Aguri Suzuki accomplished the feat. Meanwhile, as others came in for the first corner, Mark Webber took a hit from Romain Grosjean in the second Lotus, placing him to the back of the race. He tried to get back to the front but was only able to get a ninth-place finish. He later described Grosjean as a “first-lap nutcase” when interviewed by the BBC. A 10-second stop/go penalty was given to Grojean but he retired later on with only two laps left. He told the BBC that the crash was “stupid” as he was only trying to avoid any contact. Mclaren’s Lewis Hamilton had driven a car that was difficult to handle. He got past the first lap chaos to finish at ninth behind his teammate’s fifth place. It should be mentioned that Lewis had raced out from the pits to move past Kimi Räikkönen into the first corner.
Gallery: 2012 Japanese Grand Prix