Sebastian Vettel cruised to victory in the Indian Grand Prix to record his fourth straight victory and take complete control of the Formula One drivers' standings.
Fernando Alonso limited the damage to a certain extent, fighting his way to second place, ahead of Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. However, one thing was certain from the moment the red lights went out at the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi - a victory and 25 points for Vettel.
The German led from start to finish, completing his second successive win in India, and with it extending his lead in the drivers' championship to 13 points. The defending champion now has 240 points to Alonso's 227, with Kimi Raikkonen a distant third on 173 points.
With just three races remaining and Red bull seemingly going from strength to strength, Vettel looks like the clear favorite to retain his formula one title. "It was a great race for us today," Vettel said. "The start was a bit tight -- I think Mark had a better start than I had. I think I was probably a bit too conservative as the grip level was pretty high or at least higher than I had expected.
"But thank goodness the way into the first corner was not that long and I was able to keep my position and then on the first straight I started to build a gap to Mark. It was a pity that he had KERS troubles in the later phase of the race otherwise I guess we could have had a one-two finish.
"It was good that I was able to build a distance between me and the guys behind, as the track is very tricky and you never know what can happen."
Despite looking stronger as the season progresses, Vettel expects Ferrari's Alonso to give him a tough fight right until the end. "It will be tough but it was tough all season long and I don't expect the situation to ease up," he said. "We know that we still have to go full throttle and of course it helps to finish the races ahead of him.
"But to understand that you don't have to be a genius. I think for the moment we can be very happy and relaxed, but next weekend in Abu Dhabi the same level of concentration and skill is what is needed if we are to stay in front."
Alonso was happy to finish second, after getting every possible inch out of his Ferrari car. "It's not easy at the moment to fight with Red Bull but we will never give up," the Spaniard said.
"I think we are happy today, we have to congratulate them, they were fantastic this weekend so well done Red Bull, well done Sebastian -- but yeah, we want to be happy and we want to enjoy Brazil (the final race of the season), not only here so I'm sure we will do it."
Drivers' standings: 1. Sebastian Vettel (240); 2. Fernando Alonso (227); 3. Kimi Raikkonen (173); 4. Mark Webber (167); 5. Lewis Hamilton (165).
Constructors' standings: 1. Red Bull (407); 2. Ferrari (316); 3. McLaren (306); 4. Lotus (263); 5. Mercedes (136).