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Hitting the long straight after deftly negotiating the hairpin Turn Three for the 60th and final time of the afternoon, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso could see a dot disappearing into the thick veil of smog at the far end. Despite the Spaniard's very best efforts, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was running away with this race, and quite possibly with the world championship title.
The two-time reigning world champion Vettel had snatched the championship lead from the former two-time world champion in Korea two Sundays ago. At the Indian leg, the German took the chequered flag nearly 10 seconds ahead of the second best Alonso for his second win in what is fast developing into one of his favourite circuits.
"It has been an incredible two years for us here, to get pole on Saturday and win the race on Sunday," the 25-year-old Vettel said at the presentation ceremony, drenched in champagne and flanked by Alonso and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber. "It's a very special Grand Prix," he added, getting a roar of approval from a packed, adoring grand stand.
It was Vettel's fourth Grand Prix win in a row, his longest streak so far, but what truly explains his domination is that he has led each and every lap in the last three — a feat never achieved since the great Ayrton Senna did so in 1989. But the stat that must have warmed Vettel's heart the most on Sunday is that he now leads Alonso by 13 points, seven more than before the start of the race.
"A comfortable lead is an elusive thing with three races to go. But of course, going there as the leader in the standings makes the track even more enjoyable," said Vettel. Oddly enough, the 13 point difference also happens to be the one big consolation that Alonso takes to the next race, Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.