Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday and blew the Formula One championship wide open with five races remaining after Ferrari's Fernando Alonso spun out at the start.
Alonso's pre-race lead over reigning champion Vettel, chalking up his second win in a row and third of the season, was cut to four points from 29 with the Spaniard in danger of falling behind in South Korea next weekend.
"It was an important step today but there's still a long way," said Vettel after holding aloft the winner's trophy and making the familiar raised forefinger gesture as number one.
"These things happen and obviously you don't hope for those things to happen to yourself," he added of Alonso's exit into the gravel following contact with former Ferrari champion Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus.
Image: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany holds his trophy aloft after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012.