Vettel wraps up F1 title at Japanese GP
Sebastian Vettel wrapped up his second straight Formula One championship Sunday, finishing third behind Jenson Button in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Needing just one point to take the title if Button won the race, Vettel earned 15 points to clinch the title with four races left. The 24-year-old German star, the series' youngest two-time champion, has nine victories this season for Red Bull.
After doing a victory lap, Vettel ran to the area in front of his pit where he was mobbed by his team.
''It's difficult, I don't know where to start,'' Vettel said. ''We've had a long year, a fantastic year. Today's race was difficult. We weren't as fast as we wanted to be on the soft tires, but it was a strong result to win the championships and I want to thank the team.''
Button raced to his third win of the season for McLaren.
''This circuit is very special,'' Button said. ''We love this place and it was great to get a win here. I want to thank the team. The improvements that they did to the care were impeccable.''
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was second, 1.160 seconds behind Button.
Vettel briefly challenged Alonso for second with 10 laps to go, but didn't take any risks knowing he had the championship wrapped up with a third-place finish. He finished 2.006 seconds behind Button.
Vettel held the lead until a pit stop on the 20th lap allowed Button to move into first place. Button then pitted, but came out just ahead of Vettel on the 21st lap and held the lead over Vettel, Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber for rest of the race.
Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi, who started seventh, had a slow start and dropped down to 12th early in the race and finished 13th.