Japanese GP: Vettel on the verge

Mark Webber alongside his Japanese fans
Mark Webber beat Red Bull team-mate Vettel to pole position, with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton third during qualifying. It is the last time the Australian will feature in F1 at Suzuka following the news he is to race in sportcars next season
Sebastian Vettel
In a race that Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel could have won the drivers' championship, tensions were high among the paddock in practice and qualifying at Suzuka
Sergio Perez
This weekend Formula 1 takes over the small town just 50km southwest of Nagoya. McLaren driver Jenson Button described the Japanese fans there as "passionate and special" with huge numbers coming to watch the teams set up in the paddock on Thursday
Japanese Formula 1 fans
Fans in Japan are expressive and artistic, but most of all they are passionate about Formula 1, from toddlers imitating Vettel's winning pose, to groups clad in Ferrari banana suits
Japanese GP
A frenetic start to the race saw Lotus driver Romain Grosjean jump from fourth on the grid to first ahead of title contenders Alonso and Vettel at Turn One
Japanese GP
It was not the same story for Marussia's Jules Bianchi and Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde who both retired after colliding at the same corner
Japanese Formula 1 fans
Japanese fans were once again out in force on race day. Samurai warriors dressed as Ferrari horses were ready to roar on their driver Fernando Alonso, who still could beat Vettel to the drivers' championship
Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean
As Vettel crossed the line he screamed on team radio "Ichiban, ichiban," ("Number one, number one" in Japanese) at his team principal Christian Horner. Afterwards he told BBC Sport: "We looked after the tyres and had incredible pace towards the end."
Fernando Alonso
Alonso, who was 77 points behind Vettel at the beginning of the race, said afterwards that he is "happy" to have broken the all-time F1 points scoring record in Japan but admitted the championship fight is over
Sebastian Vettel
Next up for Vettel is the Indian Grand Prix on 27 October, where he only needs to finish in fifth place or higher to secure the drivers' title for a fourth consecutive time
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
On the penultimate lap Webber overtook Grosjean, who had to settle for third, enabling Vettel to head Webber in a Red Bull one-two
Jean-Eric Vergne's car
Fire became a theme during qualifying as fuel vapours ignited in the Sauber garage and Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso (pictured) suffered a blaze from rear brake damage

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