Formula 1 returned to Japan who welcomed them with open arms over the weekend for the Japanese Grand Prix. While there were many stories floating around as to the condition of the track and the surrounding areas after the tragic tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year the main talk on the track was of young Sebastien Vettel finally having an opportunity to clench the 2011 title. The German only needed one point to mathematically lock everyone else out of the running and he did just that with a stellar qualifying run. So, before we get to the winner of the race let it be known that Sebastien Vettel is (unofficially) the 2011 Formula One World Champion.
Now, on to the race. Sebastien did capture the pole but his team urged him to take things easy so he could bring home the championship. This left Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso to fight it out for the win in Japan. In the end Jenson wanted it more and he managed to fend off Fernando for the victory. This was an especially meaningful victory for Jenson as Japan is his favorite race and has strong ties to the country (he used to drive for Honda and even his girlfriend is Japanese). Rounding out the podium was the new (unofficial) champion Sebastien Vettel.
With all the worries about the driver’s championship over and done with the teams are now focused on the constructor’s championship and race wins. With only four races left there is not a lot of time for the teams to figure that all out but they’ll be damned if they don’t try!
With nothing to lose all the drivers on the grid, especially Vettel will become that much more dangerous. I guess we have to wait until the Korean GP this weekend to find out how it will all play out.
[Photo: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images]