With a third straight race victory, Sebastian Vettel is suddenly closing in on a third straight Formula One title.
The Red Bull driver won the Korean Grand Prix on Sunday to move ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in the F1 championship standings by six points with four races
remaining â€” having erased what looked like a commanding lead for the Spanish driver just three weeks ago.
Vettel started second on the grid behind Mark Webber but overtook his teammate on the first turn and never relinquished the lead, finishing 8.2 seconds ahead of Webber. Alonso was third, 13.9 seconds off the pace.
“The foundation was there with a good start,” Vettel said. “I wasn't sure because I was starting on the dirty side of the grid but I was able to get some good grip and get inside at the first turn.”
Vettel, who also won the previous races in Singapore and Japan, now looks to be the favorite for a third straight championship title something only previously achieved by Juan-Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
Webber claimed his first second-place finish of the season but the Australian was disappointed with his start from pole.
“The initial launch was not good,” Webber said. “There was some wheel spin and from there I knew I would have issues. It was very mediocre.”
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was fourth, followed by Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton finished a disappointing 10th, despite starting third on the grid.
Lewis Hamilton and McLaren team-mate Jenson Button conceded that their championship chances were gone after a difficult weekend in South Korea ended in farce and anger on Sunday.
Button was rammed out on the first lap and Lewis Hamilton limped home in 10th, gaining just a solitary point in a title race that looks now to be between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
Their bad weekend also means the Britain-based outfit have fallen to third in the constructors' championship behind Ferrari.
“I was just told by the team that we had a rear-suspension failure, but it was safe to drive so they kept me going,” said former world champion Hamilton.
© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.