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Vettel shuns hat-trick talk after Japan win

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SUZUKA, Japan, October 7 – Sebastian Vettel Sunday warned there was a long way to go in the Formula One championship despite his “dream” victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old defending world champion dominated in his Red Bull to win ahead of Felipe Massa of Ferrari and Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi, and close the gap on Fernando Alonso to just four points.

But he said: “I am very careful. I think we had a long journey so far. It has been a tough year and there are still many races to go. Today I don’t want to talk about the championship.”

Vettel romped to his second straight title last year but he has suffered reliability problems this season before hitting form with his back-to-back wins in Singapore and Japan.

And his position in the title race owes much to Alonso’s first-lap retirement after a nudge from Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was also right in the championship until retiring from the lead two weeks ago in Singapore.

“Obviously it was an important step today but there’s still a long way to go,” Vettel said. “If you look at the last couple of races, after Spa (Belgium) it was very much up and down,” Vettel said.

“I don’t know what happened today, but at Spa, Fernando was unlucky. You don’t hope those things will happen to yourself, but you know over the next few races it could happen. It is long season and crazy racing so far.”

Vettel, who scored his third win of the season, added that the weekend had been like a dream for him.

“I don’t think it could be better,” he added. “You come across these kinds of races very rarely.

“I had a very good race car, behaving very well, and it’s very difficult to describe why because we didn’t have major upgrades for this race. It’s just that the car suited the track.

“It was a fantastic race and when you have a dream about how a race should be, that is exactly what you wish for. All in all it was fantastic.”

RESULTS, STANDINGS AND SUMMARY

1. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull Racing) 1hr 28min 56.242sec

2. Felipe Massa (BRA/Scuderia Ferrari) at 20.639

3. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Sauber) at 24.538

4. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren Mercedes) at 25.098

5. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren Mercedes) at 46.490

6. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus) at 50.424

7. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Force India) at 51.159

8. Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams) at 52.364

9. Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull Racing) at 54.675

10. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Scuderia Toro Rosso) 1:06.919

11. Michael Schumacher (GER/Mercedes AMG) 1:07.769

12. Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India) 1:23.460

13. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Scuderia Toro Rosso) 1:28.645

14. Bruno Senna (BRA/Williams) 1:28.709

15. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/Caterham) 0.000

16. Timo Glock (GER/Marussia) 0.000

17. Vitaly Petrov (RUS/Caterham) 0.000

18. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP/HRT) 0.000

Reasons for retirements:

Fernando Alonso (ESP/Scuderia Ferrari): spin 1st lap

Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes AMG): spin 1st lap

Sergio Perez (MEX/Sauber): spin 19th lap

Narain Karthikeyan (IND/HRT): mechanical problem 33th lap

Charles Pic (FRA/Marussia): mechanical problem 38th lap

Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus): mechanical problem 52nd lap (classified)

Overall standings

Drivers

1. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 194.0pts, 2. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 190.0, 3. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) 157.0, 4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 152.0, 5. Mark Webber (AUS) 134.0, 6. Jenson Button (GBR) 131.0, 7. Nico Rosberg (GER) 93.0, 8. Romain Grosjean (FRA) 82.0, 9. Felipe Massa (BRA) 69.0, 10. Sergio Perez (MEX) 66.0, 11. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) 50.0, 12. Paul di Resta (GBR) 44.0, 13. Michael Schumacher (GER) 43.0, 14. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) 37.0, 15. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) 33.0, 16. Bruno Senna (BRA) 25.0, 17. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) 8.0, 18. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 7.0

Constructors

1. Red Bull Racing 324.0pts, 2. McLaren Mercedes 283.0, 3. Scuderia Ferrari 263.0, 4. Lotus 239.0, 5. Mercedes AMG 136.0, 6. Sauber 116.0, 7. Force India 81.0, 8. Williams 58.0, 9. Scuderia Toro Rosso 15.0

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