Webber takes aim
That domination ended quickly – albeit temporarily – when the lights went out in Suzuka. “They blew the start and ended up behind Romain Grosjean in the Lotus,” explains Danner.
Strategy makes difference
The swift and unanticipated turn of events forced Team Red Bull to improvise their front-runner strategy. And it also “meant that each [driver] had to go for different strategies,” adds Danner. “Mark with a three-stop and Sebastian with a two stop.” That’s ultimately what made the difference and decided the race. “Seb won it with ease.”
But that doesn’t mean the world champ was the fastest man on this sunny day in Suzuka. Webber consistently outpaced his teammate – not to mention the rest of the field – over the course of the race, setting the Fastest Lap of the Japanese Grand Prix at the start of his final stint. It would be his seven-lap struggle to pass Romain Grosjean in that last stint – despite lapping up to 1.8 seconds faster than the Lotus – that would cost the Aussie an opportunity to give his German counterpart a run for his money in the final laps.
Webber eventually outmaneuvered the Frenchman in Lap 51 to follow his teammate across the finish line and into second place.
Title beckons as Vettel wins fifth in a row
The reigning World Champion has returned to the dominant performance last seen in the 2011 season – taking his fifth checkered flag in a row and joining yet another short list of elite drivers who have achieved such a feat in the sport’s 64-year history. Only five other F1 drivers have ever achieved this: Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell.
The German wunderkind is now staring at a fourth consecutive world championship, a feat that only a shocker result at the next Grand Prix in India could delay.
DHL Fastest Lap – chase is on
Mark Webber’s Fastest Lap in Japan is his fourth of the season, putting him only two behind leader Sebastian Vettel. With four races to go, the Aussie has plenty of opportunities to catch his teammate. The 2011 DHL Fastest Lap Award winner is certain to take advantage of his RB9’s top pace as he continues to fight for the podium and a higher spot in the Drivers’ Championship.
Take a look back and Webber’s “dependable display” in 2011 as he raced a whopping 7 Fastest Laps to take home the DHL Fastest Lap trophy.
In the drivers’ table, Sebastian Vettel has pulled further ahead, removing all doubt that he will become the 2013 Formula 1 World Champion.
Red Bull also expands its lead in the Constructors’ Championship, while Lotus gained ground again after another third-place finish for Romain Grosjean. In the last two races, they’ve taken more points than Ferrari and Mercedes combined.
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