No let up from Vettel and Red Bull


Formula 1:Sebastian Vettel delivered a champion’s drive to secure his 10th victory of the season and hand Red Bull their second consecutive Formula One constructors’ title.

A week ago Vettel was marginally disappointed not to have sealed his place as the youngest back-to-back and two-time champion in F1 history with victory in Japan, instead settling for third at Suzuka.

Seven days on and Vettel underlined his title-winning status with another faultless display in today's Korean Grand Prix, finishing 12 seconds ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton who fought valiantly to hold off Mark Webber for the final 20 laps.

Vettel still has a shot at equalling Michael Schumacher's record of 13 wins in a season, but will have to take the chequered flag in the final three races in India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil to do so.

Coming into this race at the Korea International Circuit, Red Bull held a 130-point cushion over nearest rivals McLaren.

After taking first and third, and with the McLaren duo second and fourth with Jenson Button off the podium for the first time in five races, the gap is now 140 with just 129 available.

It means Red Bull have secured the rare feat of the double-double, taking back-to-back drivers' and constructors' crowns.

Hamilton did all that could be expected of him at the start, making a clean getaway and keeping Vettel behind him on the short run down to the left-handed turn one.

But the 26-year-old then had no answer to Vettel over the next few seconds, initially doing just enough to hold off the German on the approach into the sharp right at turn three.

But out of the corner and on the blast towards turn four, Hamilton could not defend, almost making it all too easy for Vettel to grab the lead.

For McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, his opening few corners were worse as he dropped three places from third to sixth, hardly what would have been expected in the McLaren camp prior to the start.

Although there was a light sprinkling of rain in the air, it was not enough to trouble the drivers and in stark contrast to last year's inaugural event which started behind the safety car.

A relatively tepid affair was spiced up on lap 17 when Vitaly Petrov inexplicably ran into the back of Mercedes' Michael Schumacher at turn three, the Russian almost collecting fifth-placed Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari in the process.

Only a minute beforehand Schumacher had avoided one scrape when Alonso emerged back onto the track from the dangerous pit exit at this circuit, the Spaniard just managing to retain his front wing.

But the seven-times champion's race was soon run when he lost his rear wing courtesy of Petrov, with both forced into retirement.

With debris on the track, it led to the deployment of the safety car, bringing the field together and an opportunity for Hamilton to try and put pressure on Vettel.

But it never materialised, and instead as the laps unfolded it soon became clear this was not going to be Hamilton's day.

Rather than challenging Vettel for victory, his race turned into a defensive tussle with Webber in a bid to retain second.

On laps 33 and 34 in particular, sandwiched by a pit stop in which McLaren's crew just managed to keep their man in front, Webber was all over the back of the silver machine.

For once, in an incident-filled season that has left Hamilton in a dark mood of late, he managed to keep it clean as they went wheel- to-wheel on occasions.

What then followed for the remainder of the race was a microcosm of the season as Vettel was away and clear, as in the championship.

Behind him, the four protagonists scrapping over the minor placings in the title picture did likewise in the race.

Hamilton fought furiously to hold off Webber, who only momentarily grabbed second on lap 49 into turn one and through turn two, only for the former to respond on the long straight that followed.

Behind them Button and Alonso were close, but never really close enough to challenge for the podium places, the quartet separated by 3.6secs come the end of the 55 laps.

Felipe Massa took sixth in his Ferrari, followed by the Toro Rossos of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi in seventh and ninth, the duo sandwiching Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.

For the fourth time in the last six races, Paul di Resta finished in the points for Force India, taking 10th.