Sebastian Vettel controlled the Indian Grand Prix from start to finish to score his fourth-consecutive victory and separate himself from his competitors in the quest for the world championship.
The two-time defending world champion admitted that winning this latest race was “an important step” toward a third title. Vettel leads the Formula 1 drivers’ standings by 13 points with three races left in the season.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Vettel said. “There’s a lot more to come and we are taking it step by step.”
This was the first time Vettel has won four-consecutive races in his career. The last driver to win four straight was Jenson Button, in 2009. The weekend’s win was also the second straight for the reigning world champion at the Indian Grand Prix.
“I don’t know what it is about this circuit, but I really like the flow of it,” he said. “Sector one is a bit slow with long straights, but sector two and three is very nice. It has been an incredible two years for us here.”
Vettel’s recent mastery is something that hasn’t been witnessed in Formula 1 in over 20 years. You would have to go back to 1989 to find an instance of a driver leading every lap for three straight races, when Ayrton Senna accomplished the feat.
“I had a good start, Mark (Webber) had a better one and it was close in Turn 1,” said Vettel. “But I had a good exit from Turn 3. I was able to open a gap, which was important.”
Fernando Alonso tried to mount a challenge on Sunday afternoon, but Vettel would have none of it and crossed the finish line nearly 10 seconds ahead of his closest rival. Webber, who had started next second on the grid next to his teammate, ended the Indian Grand Prix in third.
Vettel looks unstoppable in his quest for a third-consecutive world championship. Four races ago, Vettel was 29 points behind Alonso in the drivers’ championship. After four straight wins, Vettel now sits 13 points ahead of Alonso. Kimi Räikkönen is a distant third, 67 points off the pace.
“It’s not easy at the moment, but we will never give up.” Alonso admitted, after the race, that there was something positive to bring away from the race. “We are not fast enough to compete (with Vettel), so we lost minimum points, which is finishing second. Better races will come.”
There are only three races remaining on the 2012 Formula 1 calendar. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place Nov. 4 in the Middle East, before teams close out the year in the Americas with races in the United States and Brazil.