Japanese GP: Fernando Alonso concedes title after points record

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Japanese Grand Prix highlights

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso said he was happy to have broken the all-time Formula 1 points record but admitted this year's championship is over.

The Spaniard finished fourth in the Japanese Grand Prix to pass Michael Schumacher in the all-time points list.

But he is 90 points behind race-winner Sebastian Vettel with 100 available.

"Even if Vettel doesn't finish all of the races I need to win nearly all, so it's a matter of time [until Vettel is champion]," Alonso said.

On his own accomplishment, he admitted he had benefited from the fact that slightly more of his career than Schumacher's had come after 2010 when points awarded were more than doubled and extended to 10th place.

Alonso gives up on title race

Alonso has now scored 1,571 points in his 12-year career, two more than Schumacher. Vettel is third on 1,351.

"We have different goals now and they told me I have the record for the most amount of points in F1 history, so it's a happy day. Leading points scorer in F1 is something great," he said.

"I know the points system changed, but when someone overtakes me in the points no-one will remember the points system changed."

To win the title, however, Alonso - who has won 32 grands prix in his career to Vettel's 34 - would have to win three of the remaining four races and finish second in the other, with Vettel retiring from them all.

Alonso acknowledged his Ferrari did not have enough pace to do that.

"We struggle a little bit to do so," he said, "so it is matter of time. We continue to try to do our best on Sundays. When it is mathematically settled we [will] congratulate him."

In fact, Vettel will clinch the title in the next race in India on 27 October as long as Alonso does not outscore him by at least 16 points.

"Regarding the championship, as I said, I think obviously we have a very, very good gap but we still keep pushing," said Vettel.

"I think we've proven in the last couple of years that we never give up. I think we've won one or two championships because of that.

"Obviously this year it looks very good at this stage - but it's not over before it's over."

Hamilton out after action-packed start

Alonso's aim is now to secure second in the drivers' championship and do the same for Ferrari in the constructors' competition.

The Italian team extended their lead over Mercedes to 10 points after a bad race for the German team, who saw Lewis Hamilton retire with damage caused by a puncture and Nico Rosberg take eighth after a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release from a pit stop.

Lotus are also in the running for second place - they are 33 points behind Ferrari after Romain Grosjean took third in Suzuka and Kimi Raikkonen fifth.

Team boss Eric Boullier said: "Two weekends in a row we have gained some points on them. If we can keep it going it's possible."

The four remaining races are in India, Abu Dhabi, the United States and Brazil.

Full race results