Alonso finished in 4th, but Massa's drivethrough penalty affected his race finishing 10th.
Suzuka, 13 October – Fernando Alonso finished fourth in the Japanese Grand Prix, with Felipe Massa tenth. The result means the Spaniard consolidates his second place in the Drivers’ championship, just as Ferrari does in the Constructors’ where it now has 297 points, ten more than Mercedes.
Alonso got away well, moving from eighth to sixth behind Massa. The two F138s maintained these places up to the first pit stops, when Massa switched to the Hard tyres on lap 11, with Alonso doing the same three laps later.
On lap 20, Fernando passed Felipe on the pit straight. The Spaniard moved up the order further, passing Ricciardo next time round to go fifth. A second stop, again for Hards, came on lap 28 for Felipe and 30 for Fernando. At this points Massa went over the pit lane speed limit, for which he was given a drive-through penalty, which dropped him from sixth to eleventh.Red Bull.
Stefano Domenicali: “The Suzuka weekend began with the sad news of the death of Maria de Villota and our first thoughts are with her. Considering the potential of our car, thanks to the work of the team at the track, we have obtained a result that allows us to stay second in both Championships, in line with our current objectives. With today’s fourth place, Fernando tops the list of the all-time highest number of points scored, proof of his extraordinary talent and something which makes us very proud. Up until the penalty, Felipe was fighting for a top five finish and it’s a shame that the drivethrough affected his race, so that he was not rewarded for all his efforts. Today’s leading trio had a better pace than us, but now it’s important that we do not let up at all: over the final four races, we have an obligation to demonstrate that Ferrari never gives up fighting for the top places”.
Fernando Alonso: “Fourth place was the most I could do today, as the three ahead of me were really out of reach and so, given our starting position and how practice went in general, I am happy. It was an action packed race and even if we suffered with traffic, degradation was more normal than in Korea and we were back to having a good pace. Certainly, we need to find something extra if we want to finish on the podium in the next four races. Today, Mercedes had a few problems and we made up some important points, but we must give it our all, if we want to stay second in the Constructors’ classification, because they are not far behind. I am very proud of having become the driver with the most points in the history of this sport, even if for a few years now, with the change to the points system, you get more. Now I want to celebrate this record and think about the next race in India. This one is already in the past”.
Pat Fry: “The first part of the race was very intense from a strategic point of view, as it was affected by traffic and the decision to bring forward the pit stops, which most of the teams did today. For us, it would have been a pointless risk to stop earlier than planned, because we had based our race on a two stop strategy and it would have therefore been difficult to make it to the end. Our level of degradation was better than last week’s and our race pace meant we could make up places. Today’s performance was definitely affected by traffic and even if the podium was not within our reach, the pace was enough for us to have finished right behind the top three by a smaller margin. Fernando drove a great race, getting a very good start and showing once again just how strong he is in the race. Certainly, we can’t be satisfied with fourth place, but we are pleased about the fact Fernando has taken the lead in the all-time points table. I am very disappointed for Felipe, because he did not deserve to finish down in tenth place at the end of a weekend that had started so well. I think it’s true to say that, without the penalty he would have been able to fight for fifth with Raikkonen and Hulkenberg. For the last four races, we will evaluate if it is worth bringing some improvements to motivate the drivers and teams over the closing stages of this championship”.