PICTURES

Formula One: Vettel wins in Japan, world title on hold as Alonso finishes fourth

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives his car during the qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on Oct 12, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives his car during the qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on Oct 12, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany races during the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit on Oct 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany races during the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit on Oct 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit on Oct 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit on Oct 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates on the podium after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit on Oct 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates on the podium after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit on Oct 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany gestures on the podium after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit on Oct 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany gestures on the podium after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit on Oct 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany throws the trophy on the podium after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Japan, Sunday on Oct 13, 2013. Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix on
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany throws the trophy on the podium after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Japan, Sunday on Oct 13, 2013. Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday but missed out on sealing his fourth successive world title as his nearest rival, Fernando Alonso, stayed just in touch by placing fourth. -- PHOTO: AP

SUZUKA (AFP) - Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday but missed out on sealing his fourth successive world title as his nearest rival, Fernando Alonso, stayed just in touch by placing fourth.

Vettel, third from the first lap, drove a superb race to reel in his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber and Lotus's Romain Grosjean, who were second and third, for his fifth straight victory.

But Ferrari's Alonso kept the championship alive when he finished fourth to remain 80 points back from Vettel with 100 points available from the last four races.

Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg were fifth and sixth but the championship challenge of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton ended when he retired early after a puncture at the start.