Fernando Alonso took his second victory of the season for Renault by winning the Japanese Grand Prix, a race that began with drama.
Lewis Hamilton, merely needing to outscore Felipe Massa to take the title, went too fast into the first corner and ran wide, scrabbling across the kerb and rejoining behind third. In the mess, Robert Kubica took the lead for BMW Sauber from Alonso. Hamilton's misjudged move left him fighting for the rest of the afternoon. His third place didn't last long as he ran wide two corners later allowing Massa past as well.
Hamilton's impetuosity left him with flat-spotted tyres and he needed to pit early so that they could be changed. Before that, though, he tried to make a move on Massa, delayed when fighting Jarno Trulli's Toyota. Hamilton clipped Massa, spun and dropped to the tail end of the field blaming Massa, who had more to lose, for the accident. The stewards gave Massa a drive through penalty for the incident and Hamilton also received one for his first corner antics, scuppering both of their races.
Alonso jumped Kubica on the first round of pit stops and built a gap over Kubica, while Kimi Raikkonen looked more like his old self by finishing third in a dispiriting second half of his season. Massa recovered for seventh and Hamilton 12th, out of the points meaning that the gap was just five points in the British driver's favour with two races left.