Vettel one step from title after Korea win

Sun Oct 6, 2013 7:27pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

YEONGAM, South Korea (Reuters) - Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel completed a hat-trick of Korean Grand Prix victories on Sunday to put himself only one week away from potentially clinching his fourth successive Formula One title.

The 26-year-old's third successive Korean win, and eighth triumph in 14 races, left him 77 points clear of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with five races - and a maximum 125 points -remaining.

If the German wins in Japan next weekend - as he did last year - and Alonso fails to finish in the top eight - as also happened last year - the championship will be over.

"That was a very, very disciplined drive. Well done," team principal Christian Horner told him over the radio after taking the chequered flag. Vettel, who now has 34 career wins, replied with his customary whoop of delight.

Alonso could manage only sixth place on an overcast afternoon that threatened rain without delivering the downpours that might have mixed up the field and given him more of a hope. The Spaniard now has 195 points to Vettel's 272.

"There's still a chance for Fernando, I think," said Vettel. "So we have to stay on top of our game. But to be honest...we're just having a good time.

"I look forward to Japan because it's one of the nicest tracks of the whole season."

BIZARRE MOMENT   Continued...

Second placed Lotus Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland (L) sprays champagne at winner Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany on the podium after the Korean F1 Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, October 6, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji