Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel took a giant stride toward retaining his title Saturday with victory in the Korean Grand Prix sending him clear at the top of the drivers' standings.
Vettel led from the front to take the checkered flag ahead of teammate Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso for his third-straight race win of the season and a second-consecutive triumph in Korea.
"Woohoo! Yes, Excellent, great race, good job on the pit wall there," Vettel told his Red Bull team over the pit radio. "It was a fantastic race, obviously it important to have a good start," he said later from the podium.
The German qualified in P2 alongside the Australian Webber in pole but took the lead into the first corner and never relinquished it.
The win injects massive intrigue into the season because it sends him six points clear of Alonso in the drivers' standings with four races remaining.
"The start wasn't sensational," admitted Webber, who finished eight seconds behind Vettel. "Other than that I just tried to hang in there as best I could."
Alonso was philosophical.
"We have to be happy with the performance today," said the Spaniard, who finished 14 seconds back. "We finished third and fourth behind the Red Bulls who are difficult to beat."
Felipe Massa's fourth place earned points for Ferrari that saw them overtake McLaren in the constructors' standings.
The two McLaren drivers had a miserable afternoon with Lewis Hamilton only managing tenth despite qualifying in third, and Jenson Button retiring on lap one after a side shunt from Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber, which smashed up the Briton's suspension.
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth in the Lotus, with Nico Hulkenberg sixth in his Force India. French pair Romain Grosjean and Jean-Eric Vergne were seventh and eighth, with Daniel Ricciardo ninth and Hamilton tenth.
Vitaly Petrov scored a creditable 16th for Caterham after staying out of trouble and taking advantage of retirements ahead of him, as the Russian had predicted might happen in the run-up to the race.
He out-performed teammate Heikki Kovalainen by one position, just as in qualifying.
The next race is the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi on October 28.
1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
7. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
8. Jean-Eric Verge (Toro Rosso)
9. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
10. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
11. Sergio Perez (Sauber)
12. Paul di Resta (Force India)
13. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
14. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
15. Bruno Senna (Williams)
16. Vitaly Petrov (Caterham)
17. Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham)
18. Timo Glock (Marussia)
19. Charles Pic (Marussia)
20. Narain Karthikeyan (HRT)
Pedro de la Rosa (HRT) Retired
Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) Retired
Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) Retired
Jenson Button (McLaren) Retired