Weekend review and results round-up
|Sunday, October 9th 2011, 22:50 GMT|
There was barely any doubt that Sebastian Vettel would wrap up the 2011 Formula 1 title at Suzuka, but the weekend still held plenty of surprises, with a distracted Vettel crashing on Friday, looking on the back foot right through practice, then superbly grabbing pole, before finding himself defeated by Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso in an absolutely superb race.
The jubilant champion even fitted in a little controversy by squeezing Button off the start, although while the race winner was openly peeved about this moment, Button still led the paddock's praise of and congratulations for Vettel on his day of title triumph.
The championship fight may be over earlier than expected, but the news and gossip rolls on. It was another tumultuous weekend for Lewis Hamilton - involved in a bizarre traffic jam incident with Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher in qualifying then clashing with Felipe Massa yet again in the race.
New developments in the Lotus Renault GP/Team Lotus-Renault name row saw it emerge that talks would have to be held to get the name change proposals through the F1 Commission, and that Renault team co-owner Gerard Lopez was poised to take a major share in Group Lotus.
Existing controversies kept rumbling too - Pirelli reiterated its frustration with teams that sit out elements of qualifying to save tyres, and doubts started to grow about F1's planned return to Bahrain next year.
Away from F1, Australia's famous Bathurst 1000 produced one of its most nail-biting finishes ever, as Garth Tander clung on amid huge pressure from Craig Lowndes, to win for himself and partner Nick Percat.
The Formula Renault 3.5 title was settled in chaotic fashion as Robert Wickens clashed with title rival and Carlin team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, then found another car using him as a launchpad, then watched Vergne taken out by someone else too - making the Canadian the new champion after all.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup title race swung back towards Jimmie Johnson, yet again, as the five-time champiin ran away with the series' Kansas round.
The F1 sessions
The F1 headlines
The motorsport action