Three-time defending Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel on Sunday won the Japanese Grand Prix.

"It's been a pleasant victory today. It's a very delightful feeling. I love this course and it's fantastic to win here," Vettel said.

The German driver is far out front in the Drivers' Standings with 297 points, 90 ahead of Spain's Fernando Alonso, driving for Ferrari, who - by coming in fourth on Sunday - prevented the German from mathematically winning his fourth consecutive world title at Suzuka.

"The truth is that the start was horrible," Vettel said, acknowledging that clipping Lewis Hamilton's right rear tire before Turn 1 - a situation that forced the Mercedes driver to withdraw from the race after the ninth lap with a puncture and other damage - initially held him back until his strategy started working for him.

The German eventually managed to secure his 35th Formula One victory, however, his ninth of the year and fifth consecutive win after triumphing in the Belgian, Italian, Singaporean and South Korean races.

"The title is the great objective, of course, but the season is (not over yet) and the best way to get it is not to think about it," Vettel said.

Four races remain: Those to be run in India, Abu Dhabi, the United States and Brazil.

The German driver has won at Suzuka in four of the last five years and 2011, when he came in third, was the year he celebrated his second title.

The 26-year-old Vettel, who won last year's Japanese Grand Prix, is poised to become only the third driver in Formula One history to win the drivers' championship four years in a row.

His countryman, Michael Schumacher, holds the record with five consecutive championships between 2000 and 2004. Schumacher also holds the mark for most overall drivers' titles with seven. EFE