Hello and welcome to ESPNF1's coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel lines up on pole ahead of the race which should see him crowned double World Champion.

While Vettel on pole sounds like a familiar story, it was so nearly a McLaren front row. Jenson Button was just 0.009s slower than Vettel yesterday having been quicker in every practice session, and Lewis Hamilton missed out on pole because he didn't manage to start his final flying lap. If you missed qualifying, the full report is here.

It's another clear sunny day at Suzuka, and even though we've seen the weather change quickly in the past, the chance of rain is slim to say the very least.

The first corner here is a real challenge for the drivers on the first lap, and McLaren will be hoping its one of their drivers that is first through it. We've seen some iconic moments here at Suzuka in the past, and if the race is as close as qualifying was then we could be in for another absolute classic.

In case you were unaware, here are the championship possibilities: Sebastian Vettel wins the title if he scores one point (or more), while he is also champion if Jenson Button doesn't win, regardless of what happens to Vettel. Basically, it's the closest thing to a certainty as you can get in Formula One.

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Sebastian Vettel has just told the BBC that he is "going for glory" today rather than looking to consolidate and pick up the point he needs. Interestingly, Martin Whitmarsh also said that if Vettel is out of the race and Hamilton is leading Button, there will be no team orders and the drivers will be free to race.

A poignant moment as the Fukushima Girls Choir sing the national anthem at the front of the grid. Kamui Kobayashi has paid for the choir to be here following the nuclear disaster that struck after the tsunami and earthquake in March.

There's a slight side story today which is on row two. Hamilton lines up alongside Massa following their little controversy in Singapore, and although Massa says he isn't bothered who he starts alongside, the fact that he paid Hamilton lip service after qualifying shows it is clearly on his mind. Massa also had a bad start here last year, jumping across the grass at turn one and side-swiping Tonio Liuzzi out of the race.

This could be a very interesting start; not only are Hamilton and Massa alongside, but the Ferrari's have been very good off the line in recent races. Button got a much better start than Vettel in Singapore too, while Webber has really been struggling with his getaways. Further back, Rosberg starts 23rd after a hydraulics problem in qualifying so he'll be looking to carve his way through too.

Tyre degradation is going to be a big part of today's race. Pirelli say that the soft tyre is dropping away at 0.2s a lap, meaning the medium tyre is the quicker rubber within about seven laps. At the front we expect a lot of pit stops and soft tyre sprint strategies.

The mechanics clear the grid and Sebastian Vettel leads the field away on the formation lap.

Ferrari (InsideFerrari) on Twitter: "The start here is a bit more complicated by the fact the the grid is on a downhill"

Little tyre warming going on during the formation lap; there's been no problem heating the tyres this weekend. Track temperature is 35C and air temperature 24C.

Vettel leads the field back on the the grid. The lights are on...

Lap 1

Vettel pushes Button on to the grass on the run to turn one, allowing Hamilton around the outside in to turn one for second place. Vettel leads by 1.3s at the end of the first lap, while Button says on the radio "he has got to get a penalty for that". Debatable.

Lap 2

Replays show that Button had two wheels alongside. The incident is under investigation, but I would be surprised to see a penalty. Aggressive rather than dangerous. A great strart from di Resta up to eighth

Vettel stretches his lead to 1.5s, but he's not romping away at the speed we've seen before. So far.

Lap 3

Gap up to 1.7s at the front, while Button is already 2.5s behind Hamilton. The front two are on their own pace at present

Lap 4

Rosberg has climbed up to 19th. The DRS is enabled, and he gets alongside Perez but doesn't make it through. Kovalainen is holding the pair up

Lap 5

Massa and Alonso are running very close together as Button edges away from them. Webber is keeping a watching brief

Lap 6

Alonso uses the DRS and then dives down the inside of Massa in to turn one. Not heavily defended, obviously, but a clean pass

Liuzzi runs off track in the first sector, he lost it in the Esses and did well to keep the car out of the wall

Lap 7

Di Resta and Sutil are running close together, as Barrichello passes Maldonado using DRS for 13th. Kobayashi had an awful start and is down in 12th, while Senna's was even worse and he's 15th

Lap 8

No further action for Vettel over the turn one incident. Hamilton is suddenly off the pace - his tyres have gone off. So have Vettel's as Button is half a second quicker than the leader and 1.2s faster than his team-mate. Button is all over the back of Hamilton now and is through at Spoon. Hamilton pits after a very slow 130R

Lap 9

Hamilton actually had a right rear puncture, so he did well to control the car. Vettel compains that he is losing rear tyres now, and Button takes 1.3s out of Vettel in the first two sectors, and Vettel pits.

Alonso takes 0.9s out of Button on that lap. Hamilton's passed Kobayashi and is behind Buemi battling for 9th place. Vettel rejoined in 6th

Lap 10

Button and Alonso pit line astern. Webber in too. Button and Alonso both rejoin ahead of Hamilton, with Vettel about three seconds up the road

Lap 11

Massa pits from the lead, so Vettel is now back in front. Five seconds cover the top four.

Buemi retires with a loose front right wheel in the Esses

Lap 12

Button sets the fastest lap and closes the gap to 2.5s.

A close battle on track between Maldonado and di Resta

Lap 13

Vettel responds to peg the gap. Massa is currently the quickest man on track as he closes to within 2.2s of Hamilton. The top six are separated by 9.2s.

The track is clear again after Buemi's car is recovered

Lap 14

Vettel squeezes out another 0.1s. The battle is starting to form further back as Massa closes down to within 1.3s of Hamilton. At this rate he'll be in DRS distance next time round.

Schumacher passes Petrov in to turn one for seventh - Petrov is yet to stop and is on medium tyres

Lap 15

Hamilton is starting to lose a bit more time having been the first of the leaders to stop. We've got a race between the whole top six right now; still less than 10 seconds between them all.

A delayed pit stop for Senna, who also started on the medium tyres

Lap 16

Button takes half a second out of Vettel with the fastest lap of the race. He's well-known for being able to look after his tyres. Hamilton responds with a quicker lap to keep Massa and Webber at bay.

Alguersuari defends from Barrichello for 13th in to turn one, while Kobayashi had passed Alguersuari at the hairpin earlier in the lap

Lap 17

Massa within half a second of Hamilton now and looking for a way through. His tyres appear to have gone off again. Button is easing back towards Vettel at the fro,t; the gap is 2.3s

Lap 18

Vettel will be on the radio again, his last lap was 0.7s slower than Button. Gap down to 1.6s as Vettel is the slowest of the top six on that last lap

Petrov pits for the first time in the race. Only Perez is yet to come in as he runs 9th having lost a place to Sutil

Lap 19

Button is right behind Vettel, who pits. He's first of the front runners, but Webber is straight in behind him and Red Bull brilliantly turn around both cars quickly

Hamilton now running 0.7s a lap slower than Button but he's done well to make these tyres last

Lap 20

Button pits, and comes out ahead of Vettel! That's how quick he was going when Vettel had to pit. Alonso stayed out, we've got a hell of a race on right now as Vettel locks a tyre in to the hairpin

Lap 21

Alonso pits from the lead as Massa and Hamilton scrap. A bit of contact in to the chicane, before Hamilton pits too.

Webber sets the fastest lap of the race, he's well ahead of Hamilton now

Lap 22

A piece of Massa's car is still in the middle of the track as he pits from the lead. Button sets the fastest lap.

Hamilton is behind Schumacher after a slightly delayed pit stop

Lap 23

Vettel within the DRS zone but can't get that close to Button. The top four are 7.9s apart; Webber managed to jump Massa too, who has been slightly hampered by that incident with Hamilton

Lap 24

Safety car deployed, but we're not sure why yet

Lap 25

The safety car is deployed because of debris at turns 7 and 16. Turn 16 is the chicane, so that's Massa's bit of bodywork.

Schumacher, di Resta, Kobayashi, Barrichello and Rosberg all pit. Rosberg is released alongside Kobayashi and gets ahead on the exit

The Massa and Hamilton incident is under investigation. Differing views here, one says it would be very harsh to penalise Hamilton, the other says it is "certainly his fault, but maybe a bit harsh". Always at the centre of controversy, either way

Lap 26

We're still under the safety car, which meansd the tyres are getting a bit of time to cool and we now have a top six running in a line again.

We've just seen where the debris at turn seven came from, and it's Webber's endplate after contact with Schumacher's rear wheel.

Lap 27

Safety car in this lap. Button backs the pack up very heavily before dropping the hammer

Lap 28

Massa and Hamilton make it past a Virgin, squeezing through a very small space at turn one. Button sets the fastest lap, pulling out a gap of 1.2s. Hamilton very slow on that lap, three seconds slower than Button

Lap 29

Another fastest lap for Button, half a second quicker than Vettel. No-one else really keeping pace, although Hamilton has found the lap time again and matches Massa

Perez in good shape, up in eighth and having stopped. Petrov holding up Sutil and Rosberg for 10th

Lap 30

And Button opens tha gap up to 2.2s with another fastest lap. Webber within a second of third-placed Alonso, who is only three seconds ahead of Hamilton in sixth

Sutil passes Petrov around the outside in to turn one using DRS, and then Rosberg dives up the inside of the Renault in to the hairpin. Petrov is on medium tyres

Lap 31

Hamilton takes half a second out of Massa. The top six are 7.7s apart

Lap 32

Alonso quickest on the last lap, and Schumacher in seventh is matching the leading pace too

Lap 33

Vettel pits. He's really been struggling with his tyres in this race and he puts on the medium tyre. If Alonso can keep another lap or two of performance he could jump Vettel for second. Vettel rejoins beind Sutil and Rosberg so in 11th place

Lap 34

Webber pits for medium tyres. Red Bull will hope these tyres last longer for them. Vettel is stuck behind Sutil at the moment in a fight for eighth

Lap 35

Hamilton pits, as does di Resta. Vettel passes Sutil using DRS in to turn one and then sets the fastest first sector

Lap 36

Button pits from the lead. Alonso was catching him for the lead, he's showing good pace. Massa in too. Button rejoins comfortably in the lead, while Vettel is told to go to the end on this set of tyres

Lap 37

Alonso pits, can he rejoin ahead of Vettel? A fastest lap from Vettel is not enough, and Alonso does come out in second.

Webber passes Sutil in to 130R, and then Hamilton passes Massa using DRS in to turn one

Lap 38

Schumacher leads at the moment, although he still needs to pit again. Another fastest lap from Vettel, but he's still behind Alonso. They are three seconds down on Button

Lap 39

Button closes to within 1.7s of Schumacher, and is 0.6s a lap quicker than Alonso behind him.

Perez sets the fastest lap having pitted for a second time. Rosberg is sixth and holding up Hamilton and Massa

Lap 40

Perez outdrags Maldonado exiting the hairpin using his fresh rubber. Hamilton passes Rosberg in to turn one using DRS. Schumacher is going to come out close to this battle when he pits

Lap 41

Button is right behind Schumacher now, who pits. Button leads by 4.5s as Alonso defends from Vettel in to turn one. Webber is catching the Alonso/Vettel battle but 5 seconds behind at present, while Hamilton is 6.7s futher back

Lap 42

Schumacher rejoins ahead of Massa but behind Hamilton. Button is cruising now as he extends the lead to 5.4s, Webber takes half a second out of Vettel

Lap 43

Having said Button is cruising, he's got caught up in a bit of traffic and loses half a second. Schumacher's fresh tyres are working well for him as he takes 0.3s out of Hamilton

Lap 44

Another half a second taken out of Button's lead. He's negotiated the traffic now.

Kobayashi is heading a train of cars from ninth backwards. Di Resta made an error and has dropped behind Sutil in 10th, with Petrov and Rosberg very quick behind him

Lap 45

Vettel waves his fist at a Virgin having beren blocked in the Degner curves

Sutil passes Kobayashi in to 130R with a brave move, before Petrov gets di Resta using DRS

Lap 46

Petrov runs winde in Dunlop but di Resta has to back off to avoid him, allowing Rosberg through. Petrov holds his position

Lap 47

Alonso closes the gap by to Button to 3.7s. Vettel is 1.4s behind with webber three seconds back. 8.3s between the top four. Then there's a race for fifth, with Hamilton, Schumacher and Massa just two seconds apart

Lap 48

Perez in eighth is catching the Hamilton/Schumacher/Massa battle. Boring message from Red Bull; Webber told that he can't take any risks with Vettel ahead, who has been told the same with Alonso

Lap 49

Alonso has the gap down to 2.1 seconds. Button is struggling now with five laps remaining. Webber in fourth is six seconds off the lead, but it looks like a straight fight for the win between Alonso and Button. The Ferrari is mighty in the final sector.

Lap 50

Alonso with the gap down to 1.6s at the start of this lap, Vettel the same distance back. Button doesn't seem to have a response now. Martin Whitmarsh looks nervous on the pit wall as the gap comes down to one second

Lap 51

A good first sector for Button extends the gap to 1.5s, and the second sector is the best of the race. A good lap keeps Alonso out of the DRS zone with two laps to go

Lap 52

Button looks to have broken the back of Alonso's challenge, pulling out another half a second on the Ferrari. A fastest lap from Button, and the gap is 1.7s as he starts the ginal lap

Lap 53

Further back, Massa is 0.9s behind Schumacher, and Petrov and Rosberg have passed Sutil for 9th and 10th.

Heart in mouth moment for Button heading in to Spoon; Liuzzi cuts him up but he avoids contact

Button crosses the line and wins by 1.1s, with Alonso second and the 2011 WORLD CHAMPION Sebastian Vettel in third place.

Button jumps straight out of his car before the end of the pit lane and stands on it to salute the crowd. Vettel receives congratulations from Schumacher as they slow down, before saying on the radio: "Thank you so much every single one. Every single one. We took nothing for granted, and we did it"

Webber dropped back at the end and finished eight seconds back in fourth, ahead of Hamilton, Schumacher and Massa. A great performance from Perez for eighth ahead of Petrov and Rosberg

Button's car is not in Parc Ferme as Vettel salutes the crowd; third place is his second worst finish of the season. He runs to his mechanics and celebrates with them

Button and Paddy Lowe congratulate Vettel in the drivers room before going out on the podium, but it's not all smiles. Button says "Didn't you see me at the restart?" Before Vettel replies with "You were just behind weren't you?" Button's response is "Half way alongside. Come on...is that how we're racing now?!" Vettel still has a dig about Button's restart before there ushered out on to the podium

More smiles on the podium though, as Button holds the winning trophy aloft. A big cheer for Button who is a popular winner. Vettel throws his trophy in the air as he salutes, and this time Button congratulates him again.

Three world champions on the podium together, and Vettel seems delighted to have closed it out. He stays out a moment longer to salute the crowd.

As the sun sets in Suzuka the drivers leave the podium. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel, a hugely deserving champion, and the ninth double World Champion in Formula One history. Congratulations too go to Jenson Button for a very strong drive and his third win of the season, while Fernando Alonso also deserves a mention for his part in the chase to the flag.

So, we have the 2011 World Champion confirmed, but there's still four races to go and more great racing to look forward to. It was a fantastic race, thanks for joining us and stay on the site for the full reaction to Button's win and Vettel's world title.