In brief: Button backing Vettel to take title
Published 12/10/2010 | 05:00
Jenson Button has tipped Sebastian Vettel to beat Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber to the drivers' title should the pair dominate the final three races as they did in Japan last weekend.
Vettel cruised to his third victory of the season at Suzuka, his victory set up by a strong qualifying performance in which he beat his team-mate to pole by less than one tenth of a second.
And although second place meant that Webber extended his lead in the championship to 14 points over Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Button believes the young German's superior qualifying pace may prove decisive.
"Vettel has to beat Mark twice more to be on the same points," Button said. "Going into the last race with equal points I would say Vettel has the legs in qualifying and over three races would have the advantage over Mark.
"If those two cars have the advantage over everyone else, there won't be pressure on Vettel and he will do it."
Novak Djokovic demolished Spain's David Ferrer 6-2 6-4, while fellow top seed Caroline Wozniacki was dragged into a battle of wills before she won the rain-delayed China Open final yesterday.
Wozniacki lived up to her billing as the new world No 1 when she withstood some fierce rallies to tame second-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-3 3-6 6-3 to claim the title 24 hours later than planned.
Djokovic took advantage of the -1 first-set lead he had opened before torrential rain ended play on Sunday to take the crown for the second successive year.
Elsewhere, Conor Niland recovered from a sluggish start to overwhelm Germany's Dieter Kindlmann in the first round of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Rennes, France yesterday.
After dropping the opener, the Irish No 1 stormed back to book his place in the second round on a 4-6 6-1 6-2 margin. Tomorrow, he takes on Belgium's Niels Desein, a 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7/2) winner over the No 8 seed, Serbia's Ilija Bozoljac.
A flying start helped the Oakland Raiders claim a 35-27 success over the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers' Mike Scifres had two punts charged down in the first five minutes, leading to a safety and then a touchdown for Hiram Eugene to help Oakland to a 12-0 lead. Brandon Myers and Rock Cartwright made the blocks.
Chris Johnson scored two one-yard touchdowns in the final quarter to help the Tennessee Titans to a 34-27 success over the Dallas Cowboys.
Max Hall marked his debut for the Arizona Cardinals by completing 17 of 27 passes for 168 yards in their 30-20 success over the New Orleans Saints.
Kevin Kolb ensured the absence of the injured Michael Vick was not felt by the Philadelphia Eagles as they edged out the San Francisco 49ers 27-24. Kolb passed for 253 yards, with Trevard Lindley playing his part in the victory with a last-minute interception.
Meanwhile, the final unbeaten record in the NFL disappeared as Kansas City went down 19-9 at the Indianapolis Colts.