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Page last updated at 08:12 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 09:12 UK

Japan Grand Prix as it happened


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By Caroline Cheese

0810: As the stewards take a look at Nico Rosberg's safety car behaviour, I will love you and leave you. However, Jake and his crew continue the fun with the F1 forum which is streamed on this website (UK only) and on the Red Button. You can contact them on 81111 or at Until Brazil then....

0808: Nice work from Jake Humphrey on BBC One. "Of course, if it turns out you did speed, you might hand the title to Brawn - and they might reward you with a drive next season." Rosberg smiles a bit awkwardly and straight-bats it: "I definitely hope I don't lose my fifth place."

Nico Rosberg on BBC One: "What I can say for sure is that I didn't gain an advantage. We already analysed it. It should be fine. As far as I'm concerned, I definitely did what I should do."

0801: Of course, if Nico Rosberg is penalised, that would mean Brawn will win the constructors' title today. They're certainly keeping the stewards busy this weekend...

Rubens Barrichello after finishing seventh: "I wasn't happy with the set-up for the whole race. I was struggling with tyres. I would have finished sixth if it hadn't been for the safety car though. I'll be going happily to Brazil to win the race and keep my chances alive."

0758: As you can see, Jenson Button is absolutely convinced that Nico Rosberg will be penalised for setting a quickest sector time under the safety car. We shall see.

Brawn's Ross Brawn: "We're sort of edging our way to [the constructors' title]. We seemed to lose out on the safety car. Nico Rosberg was just on the right bit of the track at the right time. We didn't do a great job in qualifying again, and that hurt us."

Jenson Button on BBC Radio 5 live: "Rosberg gained about four seconds on us under the safety car, he set a green sector under the safety car so we will have to see what happens with that. I have got one point, maybe two so we will see. But either way I have only lost one point to Rubens so that is good and I can't imagine us not picking up another point each."

Mark Webber on BBC Radio 5 live: "My race was over after two pit stops in the first two laps so we turned down the engine and did some chassis work and testing for future races. We are still just about in the constructors' championship so we need to turn up in the next race because we haven't turned up for the last four."

Third-placed Lewis Hamilton: "We had a great race. I tried to get both of them at the start, but they both started well. Me and Jarno had a great battle. Just after the last stop, I lost Kers and when that happens the brake balance changes and all sorts of things. Once he was in front, it was impossible to keep up with him."

Second-placed Jarno Trulli: "I knew the start would be most difficult. Generally we don't get very good starts and Lewis had the Kers. It was a fantastic race for me after that though. I enjoyed it because the car was very strong. Eventually, thanks to the team and strategy, we got him in the last pit stop."

Race winner Sebastian Vettel: "I do [feel great]. What a race. Strategy-wise we were favourites, but the start was important. It was closer than I thought it would be at turn one. After that, I just tried to push every single lap. I was able to pull a big gap quite quickly. I was pretty much in control until the last stint on soft tyres when there was the safety car."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner on Vettel: "He's got nothing to lose. He just has to win the next two races."

David Coulthard on BBC One: "Vettel is now closer than Kimi Raikkonen was when he won the championship in 2007."

0742: Massive roar from the home fans as Toyota's Jarno Trulli picks up his second-place trophy. Here goes the champagne... Vettel gives Hamilton a good soaking and the favour is returned.

0740: Is it only me that feels a little disappointed that Sebastian Vettel has adopted the Michael Schumacher star-jump celebration? Big smile from the young German as he listens to the anthems.

0739: The constructors' championship also goes into the next race. Brawn need one more point to win it. I think they might do it.

0736: Sebastian Vettel energetically leaps out of the car and punches the air before patting the wheel of his Red Bull car. A stark contrast to second-placed Jarno Trulli, who shrugs his shoulders and just about summons the energy to wave at his Toyota team.

0735: Jenson Button will take a 14-point lead to Brazil, with Rubens Barrichello in second. Seb Vettel is now 16 points behind - with just 20 points available.

Sebastian Vettel to his Red Bull team: "Woo-hoo... It's our race, our race. Thank you very much, thank you."

0733: Jenson Button holds off Robert Kubica, but it's mighty, might close. The placings are: Vettel, Trulli, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Barrichello and Button.


Lap 52: This is all about Jenson Button defending his eighth place and that vital point. Meanwhile, Mark Webber sets the fastest lap of the race... in 17th.

Lap 51: Robert Kubica is chasing hard, with Jenson Button's point under real threat. Rubens Barrichello only just in front of Button.

Lap 50: Can Kimi Raikkonen use his Kers to get past the Kers-less Lewis Hamilton? Not immediately, he can't. Sebastian Vettel away well at the front.

Lap 49: In comes the safety car and we're back racing again.

Lap 49: McLaren have told Ted Kravitz they're not confident about fixing Lewis Hamilton's Kers. Safety car in next lap... four laps to go.

Lap 48: Mark Webber makes his fifth, yes fifth, pit stop. He gets a new nose and tyres. Jaime Alguersuari is being loaded into an ambulance, as a precaution I assume. He gives the crowd a thumbs up as he does. Massive impact though - and quite impressive as he completely destroyed the polystyrene advertising sign.

Lap 47: Lewis Hamilton's lack of pace is explained as he radios back to the pits: "What's wrong with Kers?" It's bust, is the short answer. As it stands, Jenson Button will have 85 points after today's race, Rubens Barrichello 71 and Seb Vettel 69.

Lap 46: Well, this is a bit of an anti-climax. Alguersuari's car is being removed from the track as the remaining drivers line up behind the safety car. As it stands, Brawn will not win the constructors' title today after Rubens Barrichello slipped a place to seventh in the second pit stops.

Safety car
Lap 45: Yellow flag... and now safety car as Jaime Alguersuari has a massive, massive off at 130R. He cleans out an advertising hoarding and smashes into the tyre wall. "I crashed, I crashed, I lost control into turn 15. I'm OK," the teenager tells Toro Rosso.

Lap 44: Nine laps remaining now and Vettel leads from Trulli, Hamilton, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Barrichello and Button.

Lap 42: Jenson Button back out in ninth, but Robert Kubica in front of him needs to stop again. Rubens Barrichello into the pits.

Lap 41: Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella almost come to blows as they exit the pits. The Finn does well to hold his place - which is 13th.

Lap 41: Sebastian Vettel - remember him? - seems to have a slight problem during his second stop, but he still comes out in front. Looks like the three-way title fight will stay alive heading to Brazil. Jenson Button in as well.

Lap 39: Jarno Trulli into the pits now. Can he get out ahead of Lewis Hamilton? Yes... easily, in fact. Cheering in the Toyota garage. Brundle blames the pit-lane limiter, reckoning it cost the world champion about half a second.

Lap 38: Lewis Hamilton pits from second, but he appears to be slowed by the pit-lane limiter on his way out. Jenson Button is up in sixth again, but yet to stop.

Lap 37: Nick Heidfeld into the pits, and he also takes on the softs. Quite a pedestrian stop from BMW... can he get out in front of Kimi Raikkonen? NO!

Lap 36: Kimi Raikkonen in for his second stop now, and takes on option tyres. He comes out right into the middle of the Rosberg-Button-Kubica party. He's in between Button and Kubica.

Lap 35: Jenson Button is now stuck behind Nico Rosberg, and Robert Kubica has caught them both up. "The pendulum swing back to Rubens Barrichello," says Brundle.

Lap 34: And Kimi Raikkonen promptly sets a new fastest lap of 1:32.999. He is only 1.6 seconds behind Nick Heidfeld in fourth.

Lap 32: "Ferrari think Raikkonen might be able to jump Heidfeld at the next stop," reports Ted Kravitz. Kimi running fifth at the moment, but flying. Meanwhile, Tonio Liuzzi takes Kazuki Nakajima for 16th.

Lap 31: Fernando Alonso comes in for his stop, putting Jenson Button back up to eighth. "There's a lot of opportunity if this bunches up, " Brawn tell the Englishman. "Your pace is very good in clean air."

Lap 30: Romain Grosjean into the pits for his first stop now. Sebastian Vettel sets a new fastest lap of 1:33.063. He leads by 6.1 seconds.

Lap 29: Romain Grosjean, back in 13th, runs wide at Spoon and lets Adrian Sutil through. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton's lead over Jarno Trulli is still only 2.5 seconds. Those two are matched for pace.

Lap 27: Jenson Button is up to 10th now, but there are still two in front of him yet to stop, so he should be up to eighth and only two places behind Rubens Barrichello shortly.

Lap 26: Ted Kravitz notes that Mark Webber "is driving his head off" back in 18th. He's still a lap down, and has no chance of any points unless everyone drives off the track. Robert Kubica stops from fifth. As it stands, by the way, Brawn will win the constructors' title today.

Lap 24: Sebastian Vettel cruising out in front, leading by 4.3 seconds from Lewis Hamilton in second. Heikki Kovalainen into the pits from sixth. Meanwhile, McLaren tell Lewis Hamilton: "You need a three-second gap to Trulli by the pit-stops." It's currently 2.3 seconds.

Lap 23: Nico Rosberg into the pits from second, as well as Alguersuari. Rosberg in earlier than expected and, crucially, he comes out behind Rubens Barrichello.

Lap 22: Jaime Alguersuari complains to his Toro Rosso team that he is being slowed down by Rubens Barrichello in front of him. "That happens, son," says Martin Brundle. The 19-year-old is among those yet to stop.

Lap 20: Jenson Button is back in 14th now, but the four drivers in front of him have yet to stop and his pace is good. Seb Vettel in the lead ahead of Nico Rosberg, who is yet to stop. Then Lewis Hamilton, Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen.

Lap 19: Vettel, Barrichello, Raikkonen and Heidfeld all in for their first stops. Vettel has to wait a couple of seconds for Heidfeld to come past as Red Bull's lollipop man plays it safe. Ted Kravitz reports that Red Bull are very pleased because Vettel was able to stay out for a couple of laps longer than planned.

Lap 18: In comes Jenson Button for his first stop. He comes out onto a clear track. It's all falling into place for the championship leader. But remember: he needs to outscore Rubens Barrichello by five points to win the title today.

Text in your views on 81111
From James, Southampton, via text on 81111: "On behalf of the UK: Thank you Sutil!"

Lap 16: Jenson Button sets a personal best for the first sector. I wonder what he's thinking? Both Martin Brundle and David Coulthard are blaming Heikki Kovalainen for that incident. He left the door open and then moved across to shut it too late. So for once, not Adrian Sutil's fault.

Lap 15: Lewis Hamilton is into the pits and switches from soft to hard tyres. Adrian Sutil, who slipped back to 12th after that collision with Heikki Kovalainen, has also pitted.

Lap 14: Jenson Button, this is your luckiest day. Adrian Sutil tries to take Heikki Kovalainen coming into the chicane, but the McLaren man refuses to give way and the Force India is sent into a spin. Button moves past them both and up to eighth - and in the points.

Martin Brundle on BBC One: "Nick Heidfeld is over five seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in fifth. That's significant. A lot of us were expecting Rubens Barrichello to get a podium today but he's 19 seconds off the lead and falling back a bit from Kimi Raikkonen."

Lap 12: And we have our first retirement: Sebastien Buemi pulls into the Toro Rosso garage.

Lap 11: Rubens Barrichello is sixth, and out-pacing Brawn team-mate Jenson Button at the moment. Ted Kravitz reports from the Brawn garage: "Jenson's car is OK. They believe he's dropped back to give himself clean air to keep the car's balance and to cool the brakes and engine."

Lap nine: Seb Vettel sets a new fastest lap and now leads by 3.3 seconds from Lewis Hamilton. Jarno Trulli a further 1.9 seconds behind.

Lap seven: Great stuff in midfield. Jenson Button, in 10th, is on the tail of Adrian Sutil, who in turn is right behind Heikki Kovalainen. "Jenson is struggling to stay with them though," says Brundle. "Why is that? He's clearly unhappy with the balance of his car."

Martin Brundle on BBC One: "I bet if you offered Jenson two points now, he'd bite your hand off."

Lap six: Mark Webber is in the pits again. So far, he seems to have spent more time in the pits than on the track. The initial problem was a loose headrest. Now he has a puncture. He's already one lap back. Lewis Hamilton has stepped his game up in second, and is now matching Seb Vettel for pace.

Lap five: Rubens Barrichello is chasing Kimi Raikkonen in fifth. The Brazilian is told not to take any risks by his Brawn engineer. Meanwhile, Jenson Button is on the charge: Adrian Sutil his next target.

Lap four: Jenson Button gets past Robert Kubica to move back up to 10th. He was overtaken by Giancarlo Fisichella - but Button retook the Italian by the end of lap one.

Lap three: Seb Vettel is lighting up the timing board, and has already pulled out 1.9 seconds on Lewis Hamilton. Mark Webber has pitted once already - and is now back in for a second time.

BBC commentator Jonathan Legard: "Good heavens. This is a desperate start for Jenson Button."

Lap one: Seb Vettel, not known for his starts, gets away well, while Lewis Hamilton sticks the Kers on to get past Jarno Trulli. Heikki Kovalainen, who started 11th, is up to ninth. Jenson Button back to 11th but desperately trying to overtake Robert Kubica.

0604: Awful start for Jenson Button... he's down to 11th.

0603: GO!

0602: Webber may be on the softs, as is Lewis Hamilton, but Seb Vettel, Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg are on the harder compound.

0600: Away they go on the parade lap. BBC commentator Jonathan Legard has heard that Mark Webber, who is starting in the pit lane, will only stop once today and will start on the soft tyre.

Text in your views on 81111
From Sal in Staffordshire via text on 81111: "Been working a night shift, desperate for JB to do his magic and grab the title today!! Go Jenson!"

0556: Bit of fuel chat: Adrian Sutil is running light and will be in on lap 14. Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica are both heavy, and Jenson Button will be desperate to get past them.

Lewis Hamilton on BBC One: "I have a pretty good starting spot here, there is a lot of drag down to the first corner, we have a lot of road to get up to top speed and get the Kers going. I have been watching replays of other previous starts here and the outside doesn't look like the place to be, it is definitely the inside for me, although that will of course depend on where everyone else goes."

Jenson Button on BBC One: "I'm feeling good. I've got to be quite aggressive. I'm looking forward to it."

From KRCAFTW on Twitter: "Kubica and Rosberg could have a chance for podium, provided they can maintain their positions in the beginning of the race."

Fernando Alonso fan
Nando's biggest fan
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "It would be doing our hosts in Japan a bit of a disservice not to say how brilliant the atmosphere is here in Suzuka. By 8am, the circuit is already overrun with F1 fanatics and packs of them line the route waiting, ready with a polite nod for non-celebrities like me, and frenzied activity for any real celebrities - this morning Red Bull Christian Horner found himself firmly in the "celebrity" bracket as his car was mobbed. Motorsport is big news in Japan, especially here at the Suzuka circuit which is owned by Honda. I'm sending you a photo of my favourite fan - a Fernando Alonso geisha girl, who has been at the gate to wave to us for the last four days and made us feel very welcome; if slightly scared by her Renault-coloured toenail polish."

0547: A shortened grid walk from Martin Brundle, because it's a 10-minute walk to get to the commentary box. Get that man a scooter. Anthems now...

Jenson Button's race engineer Andrew Shovlin: "It's going to be a very difficult start. If we get off the line reasonably well, we can do something. There's some heavier cars ahead, which hopefully we can get past. It's definitely going to be a tough afternoon. It'll be about getting past cars."

0538: In answer to Brian on the text, Toyota asked the stewards if they could put their reserve driver in Timo Glock's car, but it's against the rules if the driver hasn't taken part in final practice, so they'll only run one car.

0535: If Red Bull do not outscore Brawn by seven points today, Ross Brawn's fledgling team will win the constructors' title. It would be his eighth - but surely the most special.

0531: The BBC boys head over to chat to Ross Brawn. "If the team win the constructors' title today," says Eddie Jordan. "I want a promise that you'll sing My Way at karaoke later." A spluttering Brawn responds: "It almost makes me not want to win the championship."

Championship leader Jenson Button: "The problem is Vettel. I can't see anyone touching him in the race. There's a good chance he'll get 10 points. I'd obviously like to beat Rubens in the race, get a couple of points out of him, and that has to be the aim."

0523: Eddie Jordan may have disappointed on the fashion front today, but my main man Adrian Sutil has stepped into the breach. Sarah Holt tweets more: "Guess what? Lewis, Heikki and Adrian S are taking part in their 50th grand prix today. Sutil is celebrating with some silver and gold boots with 50 on."

0520: David Coulthard reveals that Timo Glock was actually airlifted to the wrong hospital yesterday. Oops.

Timo Glock on the injury that keeps him out of today's race: "It's quite a big cut across the leg, about 5-6cm. That's the main problem. They stitched it but the problem is I can't really move the leg. I can walk, but not perfectly, and it makes no sense to drive."

From randalthor1812 on Twitter: "Well, bang goes my one lie-in (postman). Looking for points from JB and charge from Webber and two safety cars."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "So with both championships within grasp what are Brawn expecting from the race? Well, the team are predicting a podium for Rubens Barrichello and eighth or ninth for champ leader Jenson Button - barring any more pesky red or yellow flags. If that scenario does happen then the title battle will board the flight to Brazil with the rest of us. In the Red Bull camp, Sebastian Vettel is last man standing for the title but he really needs to go for victory today as he is 25 points behind Button with a maximum of 30 up for grabs. Handily, the German is on pole. Red Bull say they are worried about rear tyre degradation but Vettel is still most people's favourite to top the podium in Suzuka."

0508: Both David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan think Brawn will wrap up the constructors' title today, with Jenson Button being made to wait until Brazil for the drivers' title.

Text in your views on 81111
From Paul S via text on 81111: "My three-year-old son woke us up at 4am. Perhaps he is excited about the potential for a new champion today!"

From CovFan on Twitter: "Topsy-turvy grid, brilliant track, all signs point to the best race of the season."

0503: And we are go, go, go on the BBC One coverage. Disappointment for me as EJ plumps for sober navy shirt and jeans. Can't see his feet though. Surely, surely, there's some wacky footwear...

Text in your views on 81111
From James H, via text on 81111: "Hi Caroline! Student in Sheffield just back from Freshers' Ball and still staying up for the Japan GP. TRUE F1 Fan! Surely worth a mention :)"

0458: Of course, over in Japan, they're wide awake and ready to go, being as it's the much more civilised hour of 12.58pm. BBC pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie has just caught up with Timo Glock, who will sit out today's race with the leg injury he suffered in that crash yesterday. She tweets: "Spoken to Timo. Leg bandaged and limping but smiling and in good spirits considering."

0452: You awake yet? If so, I'd very much welcome your thoughts - lucid or otherwise - on 81111 or on Twitter.

0449: And just for you, yes you, here's the all-new grid for the Japanese Grand Prix:
1. Vettel 2. Trulli
3. Hamilton 4. Heidfeld
5. Raikkonen 6. Barrichello
7. Rosberg 8. Sutil
9. Kubica 10. Button
11. Kovalainen 12. Alguersuari
13. Buemi 14. Fisichella
15. Nakajima 16. Alonso
17. Grosjean 18. Liuzzi
Starting from the pit lane: Webber

0445: Here's BBC Sport's Sarah Holt, currently embedded in Suzuka, with more: "I'm not going to lie to you; it's been a hectic 24 hours in Japan as BBC HQ has put its collective heads together piecing together the fall-out from Saturday's stop-start qualifying. Five drivers - including title rivals Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello - were penalised five places for speeding through the yellow flags following Sebastian Buemi's crash. The Toro Rosso driver also drops five places for impeding other drivers while Heikki Kovalainen and Tonio Liuzzi were hit with five-place grid penalties for changing their gearboxes. The headline news is that Button has been demoted three places from seventh to 10th while his Brawn team-mate Barrichello has dropped just one place from fifth to sixth. If you want to know the reason why some of the penalised drivers have lost more ground than others it is because the penalties were handed out in the order that they were on in the road. AND now the good news - all the grid reshuffling should make for an exciting race."

0441: Now then, after yesterday's qualifying session, the race stewards took all the drivers' names, put them in a hat, threw it in the air and where the names fell is how the grid will line up today. The long and short of various penalties for yellow flag flaunting and gear box changes is this: Rubens Barrichello starts sixth, Jenson Button 10th, Timo Glock isn't racing.

0435: A very good morning to you (or afternoon... is it afternoon anywhere? I have no idea). By the end of today, the title race could be blown wide open - or it could be all over. Where's your money?

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see also
Japanese Grand Prix race results
14 Sep 09 |  Results
Vettel wins as Button grabs point
04 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Japanese Grand Prix photos
04 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Button demoted as Vettel shines
04 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Glock misses Japan GP after crash
04 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Japanese GP qualifying photos
03 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Downpours disrupt Japan practice
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1

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