Sebastian Vettel (P2, Pole position, 18 pts): 8.5/10
Sebastian Vettel will be kicking himself for letting victory slip through his fingers this week. Having clinched pole position with a fabulous performance in qualifying just hours earlier, he would have been expecting a seamless launch from the grid to hold the lead into turn 1; instead, the car jerked forward before the lights went out, breaking his meticulous preparation. "Usually our starts are very good but not this time," he said later. "I was a bit early with the clutch initially then clutched in again and lost a bit of momentum." It gave Valtteri Bottas the opportunity to fly around the outside and take control of the race, while Vettel was actually a very lucky boy to hold on to second place and not incur a jump start penalty as a result of the 'stutter'. The Ferrari pit wall was unable to find a strategy that could put Vettel back in front and so the rest of the afternoon became a study in protecting second place from the hungry, hungry Hamilton sniping at his heels throughout the closing laps. He successfully accomplished this and denied Mercedes a 1-2, but he was doubtless still ruing the one that got away as he stood on the Suzuka podium.