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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee