Alonso wins Japanese GP

Fuji Speedway, October 12:

Fernando Alonso took full advantage of others’ mistakes and misfortunes to claim his second successive victory when he won the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Spaniard made the most of incidents and errors that wrecked the day for championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa as he steered his Renault to the 21st win of his career. He came home 5.2 seconds clear of second placed Pole Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber with defending drivers champion Finn Kimi Raikkonen third for Ferrari.

Brazil’s Nelson Piquet was fourth in the second Renault ahead of Italian Jarno Trulli of Toyota and the two Toro Rossos of Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais and German Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton failed to score a point for McLaren Mercedes after a drama-filled afternoon following a poor start from pole position and some impetuous moves. He eventually finished 12th. But his main title rival Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari also struggled through collisions, errors and penalties on his way to finishing eighth to claim a single point. This reduced Hamilton’s lead to six points with two races remaining in China and Brazil.

When the lights went out, the start produced chaotic drama as Hamilton made a slow getaway and struggled to keep up with Raikkonen. Hamilton responded immediately by switching to the inside and attempting to pass the Finn under braking, but he was unable to make the corner and went off across the run-off area.

In the packed field behind him, there were bumps and collisions that led to Briton David Coulthard in his Red Bull and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima in a Williams going off, the Scot crashing heavily into the barriers.

Hamilton’s rush inside Raikkonen had taken the Finn off the track with him and this led to a stewards’ investigation that resulted in a drive-through penalty for the championship leader. As the field settled, Kubica was leading ahead of Alonso before further incidents arrived on lap two when Hamilton, in sixth, attacked and passed Massa who ran off the track and then collided with the Englishman’s McLaren.

Massa’s Ferrari spun Hamilton’s car to a halt and left him stranded as the field streamed through with the Briton forced to wait and rejoin last with wrecked tyres.