Sebastian Vettel won the 24th race of his career at the Japanese GP. His third win at the event since 2009. (Getty images)
Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel took a dominant lights to flag win at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka from pole position and managed to slash the gap to points leader Fernando Alonso to four points after the Ferrari driver retired on the first lap of the race.
In a surprise second place was Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa who was followed home to third by home hero Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber. The Japanese was greeted to the podium by the sell-out crowd to chants of 'Kamui, Kamui' as the top three drivers headed out for the post race ceremony.
Kobayashi was just about able to hold off McLaren's Jenson Button who finished fourth, 0.5 seconds behind.
The race featured its share of retirements as along with Alonso, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was punted out of his 15th place starting position by Bruno Senna who was later penalized for the incident. Mark Webber too was caught up in the melee and dropped to the tail of the field before recovering to ninth.
Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and tenth respectively.
Michael Schumacher recovered from a ten-place grid penalty that saw him start 23rd and finish 11th, just 0.8 seconds behind Ricciardo.
Narain Karthikeyan retired from 20th place following lingering problems with his HRT F1 F112 that started with a damaged floor in Friday practice.