SUZUKA, Japan — Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix from pole on Sunday to close within four points of the Formula One championship lead as series leader Fernando Alonso crashed out of the race at the first turn.
Vettel, who also won the previous race in Singapore, is within sight of a third straight title, with five races to go. Alonso's Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa was second, 20.6 seconds behind Vettel for his first podium finish since Korea in 2010.
Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi took third place for his first-ever podium finish and become the first Japanese driver on a podium here since 1990.
The race got off to a tumultuous start with a series of collisions in the first corner sequence, ending Alonso's race.