F1: Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso concedes world championship to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel

Vettel won his fifth race in a row in the Japanese Grand Prix to all but confirm his fourth consecutive drivers' title

Sebastian Vettel may insist it is not over but as far as Fernando Alonso is concerned this year's fight for the Formula One title is a done deal.

Vettel's fourth win in five years at the Japanese Grand Prix gave him his fifth straight grand prix victory in the current campaign, a personal best.

Since the summer break the 26-year-old German has been unstoppable, and with a 90-point lead over Alonso with 100 to play for, there is now only one outcome as far as the Spaniard is concerned.

"Even if Sebastian retired from all four remaining races, I would have to win all of them," said Alonso, who finished fourth and 45 seconds behind Vettel.

"So it's only a matter of time before he will be champion. We have different goals now.

"We will continue to try to do our best on Sundays, and when it is mathematically settled we will congratulate him."

At this rate, Vettel is on course to equal Alberto Ascari's all-time F1 record of nine consecutive race victories, set over the 1952 and 1953 seasons.

Vettel is not taking anything for granted and instead basked in the warmth of adoration from the Japanese fans, in stark contrast to the boos he received on the podium at Monza after the Italian Grand Prix, and in Singapore.

"Because of the circuit, which I love, and the fans, this race is one of the highlights of the year," said Vettel.

"I've been very, very fortunate to have a great car in the past, and again this year. Being able to win four times now is incredible.

"When we leave the hotel in the morning it's the same for all of the drivers, the reception we get is so special.

"The people are crazy about Formula One. They really admire us and love what we do.

"On Saturday I ran the circuit in the evening and there were still 5,000 people in the grandstand watching. They are amazed by Formula One.

"That is what makes this race so special and victories taste so sweet.

"So I would like to say thank you to all the fans because every time we come here the appreciation and the respect we get as drivers is incredible.

"Regarding the championship, we have a very, very good gap. It looks very good at this stage, but we will still keep pushing. It's not over until it's over."

The result came down to strategies, with Vettel making a two-stop plan work compared to team-mate Mark Webber's three, with the 37-year-old Australian runner-up just ahead of Lotus' Romain Grosjean.

Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire for the first time this year with floor damage to his Mercedes sustained after suffering a puncture at the start following a brush with Vettel's front wing.

Behind Alonso, Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen was fifth, followed by Sauber duo Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez, with the latter in the points for the first time in his rookie year.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was eighth, with McLaren's Jenson Button and Felipe Massa in his Ferrari completing the top 10, whilst Paul Di Resta was 11th for Force India.

PA

 

 

Get Adobe Flash player
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all