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The 2012 Japanese Grand Prix was the 15th race of the 2012 Formula One Season, which took place on October 7 2012 at the Suzuka Circuit. It was the 28th running of the Japanese Grand Prix as a round of the Formula One World Championship and the 24th at the Suzuka Circuit.

Sebastian Vettel won in a dominant display, winning the race, leading every lap from from pole position and setting the fastest lap, his second Grand Chelem, after the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix and second consecutive victory. Second was Felipe Massa, who secured his first podium since the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix, over two years ago. Kamui Kobayashi, who started from third on the grid, mirrored Aguri Suzuki's efforts at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix by finishing in third place. It was the first podium for a Japanese driver since Takuma Sato at the 2004 United States Grand Prix.

Vettel's win made him the first driver to complete back-to-back victories in 2012.

The result significantly cut Fernando Alonso's Drivers Championship lead to just 4 points, after the Spaniard spun out with a puncture at the first corner. Vettel's win extends Red Bull's lead in the Constructors' Championship to 41 points over McLaren-Mercedes.



Background

After a two week break, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso went into the event leading the Driver's World Championship at a slightly reduced points margin to second placed Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull-Renault, who sat 29 points behind the championship leader. After Vettel's win at the previous event in Singapore, Red Bull-Renault were able to extend their lead in the Constructors World Championship over the second placed team McLaren-Mercedes by a 36 point margin.

Following his collision with Jean-Éric Vergne in Singapore, Michael Schumacher will take a 10-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix.

During the two week break between the Singapore Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix there were some major driver announcements for the 2013 Formula One Season. After some impressive performances in 2012 Sauber-Ferrari driver Sergio Perez was confirmed to be joining the McLaren-Mercedes team for 2013 replacing Lewis Hamilton who had raced with the team since 2007. Hamilton, a major championship contender in 2012 was confirmed shortly after to have joined the Mercedes team for 2013 replacing Michael Schumacher in the team. Shortly after this announcement Schumacher announced his retirement from F1 at the conclusion of the 2012 season.

Entry list

The full entry list for the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix is shown below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB8 Renault RS27-2012 P
2 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB8 Renault RS27-2012 P
3 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-27 Mercedes FO 108Z P
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-27 Mercedes FO 108Z P
5 Spain Fernando Alonso Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F2012 Ferrari 056 P
6 Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F2012 Ferrari 056 P
7 Germany Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W03 Mercedes FO 108Z P
8 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W03 Mercedes FO 108Z P
9 Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom Lotus F1 Team Lotus E20 Renault RS27-2012 P
10 France Romain Grosjean United Kingdom Lotus F1 Team Lotus E20 Renault RS27-2012 P
11 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India VJM05 Mercedes FO 108Z P
12 Germany Nico Hülkenberg India Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India VJM05 Mercedes FO 108Z P
14 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Switzerland Sauber F1 Team Sauber C31 Ferrari 056 P
15 Mexico Sergio Pérez Switzerland Sauber F1 Team Sauber C31 Ferrari 056 P
16 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Italy Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso STR7 Ferrari 056 P
17 France Jean-Éric Vergne Italy Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso STR7 Ferrari 056 P
18 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams F1 Williams FW34 Renault RS27-2012 P
19 Brazil Bruno Senna United Kingdom Williams F1 Williams FW34 Renault RS27-2012 P
20 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Malaysia Caterham F1 Team Caterham CT01 Renault RS27-2012 P
21 Russia Vitaly Petrov Malaysia Caterham F1 Team Caterham CT01 Renault RS27-2012 P
22 Spain Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT F1 Team HRT F112 Cosworth CA2012 P
23 India Narain Karthikeyan Spain HRT F1 Team HRT F112 Cosworth CA2012 P
24 Germany Timo Glock Russia Marussia F1 Team Marussia MR01 Cosworth CA2012 P
25 France Charles Pic Russia Marussia F1 Team Marussia MR01 Cosworth CA2012 P
Free Practice 1 only
19 Finland Valtteri Bottas United Kingdom Williams F1 Williams FW34 Renault RS27-2012 P
20 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde Malaysia Caterham F1 Team Caterham CT01 Renault RS27-2012 P

Practice

FP1

As the first practice session got underway at Suzuka it was the McLarens that had set the immediate pace at the Japanese circuit. Winner of the 2011 event, Jenson Button set the pace ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. Mark Webber presented a strong challenge to the McLaren's in his Red Bull to finish a respectable third in the standings ahead of the two Mercedes's of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso struggled in his Ferrari and could only finish the session 11th, some way off the pace of teammate Felipe Massa who finished 7th in the standings behind the Japanese home favourite Kamui Kobayashi. Another championship contender to struggle in the first practice session was Sebastian Vettel who could only manage a disappointing 17th in the standings.

In the midfield, Valtteri Bottas substituted for Bruno Senna at Williams where he finished the standings 18th, eight places behind teammate Pastor Maldonado. The other reserve driver participating in the first practice session was Giedo van der Garde at Caterham who replaced Heikki Kovalainen. Van der Garde finished the session 23rd, three places behind teammate Vitaly Petrov.

FP2

The second practice session turned out to be heavily action packed with many cars having either accidents or spins. Only 6 minutes into the session, Paul di Resta crashed his Force India at the Spoon Curve meaning that he was unable to set a competitive lap time. Shortly after, Michael Schumacher crashed his Mercedes at the exact same place meaning he would finish the session a disappointing 10th. It was an all round bad session for Mercedes with Nico Rosberg retiring from the session with oil pressure issues at the Esses, midway through the session.

The session saw minor spins for the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen, both the Sauber's of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, Marussia's Timo Glock, Williams's Pastor Maldonado, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen. In the dying minutes of the session however, the Caterham of Vitaly Petrov suffered a rear wing failure which detached from his car sending him flying into the barriers at the first corner. Petrov escaped the accident relatively unscathed.

Up at the front, McLaren and Red Bull continued to set the pace. This time with the Red Bull of Mark Webber leading the times ahead of the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and his teammate Sebastian Vettelwho had made a strong recovery after a disappointing first practice session. Nico Hulkenberg impressed in his Force India to finish the session a strong fourth in the standings ahead of the recovering Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari.

FP3

At the conclusion of the final practice session at Suzuka it was the two Red Bull's that dominated the timing sheets with Sebastian Vettel topping the timesheets ahead of teammate Mark Webber. Ferrari driver Felipe Massa put in a strong performance to finish 3rd at the conclusion of the session, significantly ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso who finished a disappointing 13th.

Michael Schumacher finished the session 4th for Mercedes. Schumacher had looked strong throughout the session and had briefly topped the timesheets. Teammate Nico Rosberg faired less well and finished the session a disappointing 15th.

McLaren did not show particularly strong pace in the session with Jenson Button finishing in 8th position and Lewis Hamilton finishing in 13th position. Towards the end of the session Hamilton notably had a hair raising moment at the Bus Stop Chicane. Hamilton encountered slower cars while entering the chicane whilst on a hot lap, one of these slow cars was the Marussia of Charles Pic who was on an in-lap to the pits. Pic had been driving very slowly on the racing line and was nearly hit at very high speed by Lewis Hamilton who managed to avoid the trailing Marussia at the very last second.

The only other notable incident was when the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg went off the circuit at the second degner and landed his car into the barriers during the final 20 minutes of the session.

Practice Results

No. Driver Team FP1 FP2 FP3
Pos Time Pos Time Pos Time
1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull-Renault 17 1:36.366 3 1:32.836 1 1:32.136
2 Australia Mark Webber 3 1:34.856 1 1:32.493 2 1:32.371
3 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1 1:34.507 7 1:33.349 8 1:33.025
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 2 1:34.740 2 1:32.707 13 133.569
5 Spain Fernando Alonso Italy Ferrari 11 1:35.484 5 1:33.093 11 1:33.184
6 Brazil Felipe Massa 7 1:35.283 9 1:33.614 3 1:32.824
7 Germany Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes 5 1:35.122 10 1:33.750 4 1:32.918
8 Germany Nico Rosberg 4 1:35.059 11 1:33.866 15 1:33.899
9 Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom Lotus-Renault 13 1:35.691 14 1:34.291 12 1:33.224
10 France Romain Grosjean 14 1:35.724 6 1:33.107 7 1:33.008
11 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Force India-Mercedes 8 1:35.299 24 no time 9 1:33.094
12 Germany Nico Hülkenberg 9 1:35.474 4 1:32.987 18 1:34.369
14 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 6 1:35.199 13 1:33.983 6 1:32.924
15 Mexico Sergio Pérez 12 1:35.584 12 1:33.903 5 1:32.920
16 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 15 1:36.123 16 1:34.863 17 1:34.023
17 France Jean-Éric Vergne 16 1:36.222 17 1:35.080 14 1:33.722
18 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams-Renault 10 1:35.478 15 1:34.300 10 1:33.160
19 Brazil Bruno Senna DNP 8 1:33.499 16 1:33.984
Finland Valtteri Bottas 18 1:36.389 DNP DNP
20 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Malaysia Caterham-Renault DNP 18 1:35.711 19 1:35.568
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde 23 1:39.374 DNP DNP
21 Russia Vitaly Petrov 20 1:38.295 19 1:35.870 20 1:36.355
22 Spain Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 24 1:39.688 22 1:37.342 24 1:36.875
23 India Narain Karthikeyan 22 1:39.043 23 1:37.701 23 1:36.649
24 Germany Timo Glock Russia Marussia-Cosworth 19 1:37.717 20 1:36.194 21 1:36.389
25 France Charles Pic 21 1:38.616 21 1:36.636 22 1:36.517

Qualifying

Q1

Q2

Q3

Post-Qualifying

Qualifying Results

Pos. No. Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Grid
Pos Time Pos Time Pos Time
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull-Renault
2 2 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull-Renault
3 3 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
4 14 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari
5 10 France Romain Grosjean United Kingdom Lotus-Renault
6 15 Mexico Sergio Perez Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari
7 5 Spain Fernando Alonso Italy Ferrari
8 9 Finland Kimi Raikkonen United Kingdom Lotus-Renault
9 4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
10 12 Germany Nico Hulkenberg IndiaForce India-Mercedes
11 6 Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari
12 11 United Kingdom Paul di Resta IndiaForce India-Mercedes
13 7 GermanyMichael Schumacher GermanyMercedes
14 18 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams-Renault
15 8 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes
16 16 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari
17 17 France Jean-Eric Vergne Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 19 Brazil Bruno Senna United Kingdom Williams-Renault
19 20 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Malaysia Caterham-Renault
20 24 Germany Timo Glock Russia Marussia-Cosworth
21 22 Spain Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth
22 25 France Charles Pic Russia Marussia-Cosworth
23 21 Russia Vitaly Petrov Malaysia Caterham-Renault
24 23 India Narain Karthikeyan Spain HRT-Cosworth

Grid

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Sebastian Vettel 2
______________ Mark Webber
Row 2 3 ______________
Kamui Kobayashi 4
______________ Romain Grosjean
Row 3 5 ______________
Sergio Pérez 6
______________ Fernando Alonso
Row 4 7 ______________
Kimi Räikkönen 8
______________ Jenson Button*
Row 5 9 ______________
Lewis Hamilton 10
______________ Felipe Massa
Row 6 11 ______________
Paul di Resta 12
______________ Pastor Maldonado
Row 7 13 ______________
Nico Rosberg 14
______________ Daniel Ricciardo
Row 8 15 ______________
Nico Hülkenberg* 16
______________ Bruno Senna
Row 9 17 ______________
Heikki Kovalainen 18
______________ Timo Glock
Row 10 19 ______________
Jean-Éric Vergne 20
______________ Pedro de la Rosa
Row 11 21 ______________
Charles Pic 22
______________ Vitaly Petrov
Row 12 23 ______________
Michael Schumacher 24
______________ Narain Karthikeyan
Notes

*Button (Qualified 3rd, Grid 8th) and Hulkenberg (Qualified 10th, Grid 15th) were demoted five places each due to unscheduled gearbox changes.

†Vergne was demoted places from 17th to 19th for blocking Bruno Senna in Q1.

‡Schumacher was demoted from 13th to 23rd for causing a collision at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Race

Results

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 53 1:28.56.242 1 25
2 6 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 53 +20.632 10 18
3 14 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 53 +24.538 3 15
4 3 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 53 +25.098 8 12
5 4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 53 +46.490 9 10
6 9 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 53 +50.424 7 8
7 12 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Force India-Mercedes 53 +51.159 15 6
8 18 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 53 +52.364 12 4
9 2 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 53 +54.675 2 2
10 16 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 53 +1:06.919 14 1
11 7 Germany Michael Schumacher Mercedes 53 +1:07.769 23
12 11 United Kingdom Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 53 +1:23.460 11
13 17 France Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 53 +1:28.648 19
14 19 Brazil Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 53 +1:28.709 16
15 20 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 52 +1 Lap 17
16 24 Germany Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 52 +1 Lap 18
17 21 Russia Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 52 +1 Lap 22
18 22 Spain Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 52 +1 Lap 20
19 10 France Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 51 Gearbox 4
Ret 25 France Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 36 Engine 21
Ret 23 India Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 32 Vibrations 24
Ret 15 Mexico Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 19 Spun Off 5
Ret 5 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 0 Spun Off 6
Ret 8 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 0 Collision 13

Milestones

Standings after the race

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts
1 Spain Fernando Alonso 194
2 Germany Sebastian Vettel 190
3 Finland Kimi Räikkönen 157
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 152
5 Australia Mark Webber 134
6 United Kingdom Jenson Button 131
7 Germany Nico Rosberg 93
8 France Romain Grosjean 82
9 Brazil Felipe Massa 69
10 Mexico Sergio Pérez 66
11 Japan Kamui Kobayashi 50
12 United Kingdom Paul di Resta 44
13 Germany Michael Schumacher 43
14 Germany Nico Hülkenberg 37
15 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado 33
16 Brazil Bruno Senna 25
17 France Jean-Éric Vergne 8
18 Australia Daniel Ricciardo 7
19 Finland Heikki Kovalainen 0
20 Russia Vitaly Petrov 0
21 Germany Timo Glock 0
22 France Charles Pic 0
23 India Narain Karthikeyan 0
24 Spain Pedro de la Rosa 0
25 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio 0
Constructors' World Championship
Pos. Team Pts
1 Austria Red Bull-Renault 324
2 United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 283
3 Italy Ferrari 263
4 United Kingdom Lotus-Renault 239
5 Germany Mercedes 136
6 Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 114
7 India Force India-Mercedes 81
8 United Kingdom Williams-Renault 58
9 Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 14
10 Malaysia Caterham-Renault 0
11 Russia Marussia-Cosworth 0
12 Spain HRT-Cosworth 0

Notes

V T E 2012 Formula One Season
Teams Red Bull | McLaren | Ferrari | Mercedes | Lotus | Force India | Sauber | Toro Rosso | Williams | Caterham | HRT | Marussia
Engines Renault | Mercedes | Ferrari | Cosworth
Race Drivers Vettel | 2 Webber | 3 Button | 4 Hamilton | 5 Alonso | 6 Massa | 7 Schumacher | 8 Rosberg | 9 Räikkönen | 10 Grosjean | 10 D'Ambrosio | 11 Di Resta | 12 Hülkenberg | 14 Kobayashi | 15 Pérez | 16 Ricciardo | 17 Vergne | 18 Maldonado | 19 Senna | 20 Kovalainen | 21 Petrov | 22 De la Rosa | 23 Karthikeyan | 24 Glock | 25 Pic
Other Drivers Buemi | Paffett | Turvey | Rigon | Bird | Bianchi | Daly | Gutiérrez | Bottas | Wolff | Van der Garde | Rossi | González | Clos | Luizzi | de Villota | Chilton
Cars RB8 | MP4-27 | F2012 | F1 W03 | E20 | VJM05 | C31 | STR7 | FW34 | CT01 | F112 | MR01
Tyres Pirelli
Races Australia | Malaysia | China | Bahrain | Spain | Monaco | Canada | Europe | Britain | Germany | Hungary | Belgium | Italy | Singapore | Japan | Korea | India | Abu Dhabi | United States | Brazil
Team Reports Red Bull | McLaren | Ferrari | Mercedes | Lotus | Force India | Sauber | Toro Rosso | Williams | Caterham | HRT | Marussia
Driver Reports Vettel | Webber | Button | Hamilton | Alonso | Massa | Schumacher | Rosberg | Räikkönen | Grosjean | di Resta | Hülkenberg | Kobayashi | Pérez | Ricciardo | Vergne | Maldonado | Senna | Kovalainen | Petrov | de la Rosa | Karthikeyan | Karthikeyan | Glock | Pic
Tests Jerez | Barcelona 1 | Barcelona 2 | Mugello | Young Driver
See also 2011 Formula One Season | 2013 Formula One Season | Bahrain GP protests | Category
Japan Japanese Grand Prix
Circuits Fuji (1976–1977, 2007–2008), Suzuka (1987–2006, 2009–present)
SuzukaCircuit2005
Races 197619771978–1986 • 19871988198919901991199219931994 • 1995199619971998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016


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