Sebastian Vettel insists Formula One title race is not over


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The Independent Online

A dominant Sebastian Vettel is refusing to believe he already has one hand on this year's Formula One world championship following a fourth consecutive victory.

Since Lewis Hamilton retired with a gearbox failure on lap 23 of the Singapore Grand Prix last month, Vettel has not looked back, chalking up a phenomenal total of 204 consecutive laps in the lead.

That has taken in wins at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Japan, Korea and yesterday in India as he triumphed again at the Buddh International Circuit, beating Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by just under 10 seconds.

It means Vettel now has a 13-point cushion over Alonso, who at least managed his best result since winning in Germany in July to keep his own hopes alive.

But with three races remaining, Vettel has no intention of taking anything for granted as he said: "This was obviously another good step for us, but there is still a long way to go.

"It obviously feels fantastic to have a race where everything works the way you want it to, so I'm very proud, very happy and enjoying it.

"But we have seen this year how quickly things can change, so this race has gone and now we focus on Abu Dhabi this weekend.

"There's a lot more to come, so we'll try to take things step by step."

As you would expect from the fighter that is Alonso, and after his assertion following qualifying on Saturday he was "100 per cent confident" he would win the title, he was again defiant in the face of Vettel's current supremacy.

"This result was good news for us, seeing we could fight Red Bull in the race," said Alonso.

"Right now there are 75 points available, and we are 13 behind, but we know we need to improve.

"We are not fast enough, especially on Saturdays, but hopefully we can improve the situation in Abu Dhabi or in the USA.

"The races are long, and as we saw with Mark (Webber), a KERS problem can happen to anyone. It can happen to Seb, to me, to all of us.

"There are still many points on the table and so I'm still very optimistic."

Webber's KERS issue to his Red Bull allowed Alonso to move up to second on lap 45, so limiting the damage as much as possible given Vettel's latest success.

Webber just managed to keep a charging Lewis Hamilton at bay to hold on to third ahead of the Briton, whose McLaren team-mate Jenson Button came home fifth.

With Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen seventh, the Finn, Webber and Hamilton are 67, 73 and 75 points adrift respectively, leaving that trio to fight over third place on the world title 'podium'.

In the constructors' championship, Red Bull can clinch their third successive crown in Abu Dhabi as they lead Ferrari by 91 points and McLaren by 101.