F1: Japan victory shows Sebastian Vettel can win in more ways than one after Christian Horner praises his versatility

The Red Bull driver is on the verge of his fourth consecutive world championship

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Sebastian Vettel proved in Japan he has more than one string to his bow when it comes to winning a race.

Vettel triumphed at Suzuka for the fourth time in five years, and at the fifth consecutive grand prix this season, to move within touching distance of his fourth successive Formula One world title.

But instead of blasting away from pole position and opening up a gap, as has become his modus operandi over the years, Red Bull and Vettel had to play a more tactical game.

From second on the grid, Vettel was beaten into the first corner by both the Lotus of Romain Grosjean and his own team-mate Mark Webber.

To complicate matters, Vettel sustained minor front-wing damage after it clipped and punctured the right-rear tyre of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.

It meant Vettel had to be patient and let the race and a two-stop strategy come to him, before pulling off the defining overtake when he passed Grosjean for the lead after his second change of tyres.

Assessing a very different victory for Vettel, Horner said: "He had a damaged car, and yet he just managed to adapt.

"He played the thinking game. He watched and he waited in that first stint, and he preserved the tyres.

"He was very smart in the way he handled the race. He created the options for himself by having the range in that first stint.

"He then did the same in the second stint by making the tyres go longer and further than any of the other drivers.

"And then when he had the one opportunity when he needed to nail Grosjean, he did so immediately."

That was in stark contrast to Webber, with the Australian on a three-stop plan.

But on a charge in the closing laps on fresh tyres, when it came to the critical moment to pass Grosjean to set himself up for a run at Vettel, the move failed, and with it his hopes of the win.

It left Vettel to again take the chequered flag and a shot at one of F1's all-time great records - Alberto Ascari's nine successive wins for Ferrari set over the 1952-53 seasons.

Asked whether Vettel could win the last four, Hamilton replied: "If he doesn't have any reliability issues, most likely. He's just walking it."

Horner can also sense Vettel is on the cusp of something special in the sport as he said: "Sebastian has won every race since the summer break, which is an incredible achievement.

"I don't think any of us could have imagined he would have had the success he has had. The way he is driving at the moment is quite supreme.

"But there are still four races to go, and our task is to carry our momentum into those races, with the next two in India and Abu Dhabi a different challenge."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?