SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Ferrari’s Formula One championship leader Fernando Alonso crashed out of the Japanese Grand Prix seconds after the start on Sunday.
The Spaniard, who led Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel by 29 points with five races remaining after Suzuka, had started in sixth place and was sent spinning into the gravel at the first corner after contact with Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus.
Germany’s Nico Rosberg also retired his Mercedes while Australian Mark Webber went from the front row to the back of the field after his Red Bull was in a collision with Frenchman Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.
The incidents brought out the safety car for one lap. Vettel was leading from pole.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Peter Rutherford