Formula One

 
                === F1: Vettel heads to Japan with momentum ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA (Sports Network) - After winning last week's Singapore Grand
 Prix,  Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel put himself right back in the hunt for
 the Formula One world championship.
 
 Vettel,  who is  seeking his  third  consecutive title,  benefited from  Lewis
 Hamilton's  gearbox  failure early  in the  race and  then held off Hamilton's
 McLaren  teammate,  Jenson Button, after two  restarts to win in Singapore for
 the second year in a row. Vettel moved up to second in the driver's standings.
 He  is  29 points behind leader  Fernando Alonso from Ferrari. Alonso finished
 third in Singapore.
 
 Third  through fifth in points right now are: Kimi Raikkonen from Lotus (-45),
 Hamilton (-52) and Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber (-62).
 
 F1 now heads to Suzuka, Japan for the 15th round in the 20-grand prix schedule
 this year.
 
 Alonso  has not won  a race since the July 22 German Grand Prix but has kept a
 somewhat  comfortable points  lead due to Vettel and Hamilton's misfortunes in
 previous grand prix.
 
 "In  Monza  (Italian Grand Prix), it  was Lewis winning the race and Sebastian
 retired,  and  (in Singapore) it was  Sebastian winning and Lewis retiring, so
 for me, it's okay if they keep doing it like this," Alonso said.
 
 But  let's not forget what happened in 2010. With two races to go, Alonso held
 a  25-point  lead over  Vettel, but  Vettel won both  the penultimate event in
 Brazil and then the season-finale in Abu Dhabi to beat Alonso for the title by
 four points.
 
 Could history repeat itself in F1?
 
 "I  don't think  Fernando would be too  happy if it happened again in the last
 race,"  Vettel said.  "It's an incredible season  for all of us, and we have a
 lot  of races  left. The car seems to  be competitive, and we just have to use
 the momentum and keep pushing for these last races and see what happens."
 
 Last  year,  Vettel clinched his  second straight  F1 title with a third-place
 finish  in the Japanese Grand Prix. He entered the race needing only one point
 to secure the championship.
 
 "I  love  the Suzuka circuit," he  said. "I wish I  had won in 2011. It was my
 third  Formula  One race on my  favorite track, and  it still bothers me a bit
 that I took my world title with a third place."
 
 Alonso and Vettel have both won the Japanese GP twice. Alonso's victories came
 in 2006 and '08. Vettel scored back-to-back wins in Japan from 2009-10. Button
 is the defending race winner.
 
 "Suzuka  is  definitely a circuit that  puts hair on your chest," Button said.
 "It's  extremely uncompromising, like a street circuit. It doesn't allow for a
 single  mistake, punishing you for putting a wheel wrong at almost every point
 on the circuit. It's also extremely quick."
 
 Button  trails Alonso  by  a distant  75  points. He  finished  second in  the
 Singapore GP.
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, Oct. 7. Race: Japanese Grand Prix. Site:
 Suzuka Circuit. Track: 3.608-mile (5.807-kilometer), 18-turn road course.
 Start Time: 2 a.m. (et). Laps: 53. Miles: 191.117 (307.771 km). 2011 Winner:
 Jenson Button. Television: Speed.
 
 10/02 19:23:04 ET

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