James Frankland reviews the Korean Grand Prix and the market's reaction to Sebastian Vettel's dominant victory...
Mark Webber lost out to Sebastian Vettel at the start, the German pulling out a clear gap over his teammate and the rest of the field to win by 8.2 seconds, although there were concerns over Vettel's tyre wear towards the end of the race. Vettel's chief title rival Fernando Alonso, who went into this race with a slender four-point advantage, finished on the podium in third but leaves the Far East trailing the Red Bull driver by six points, with all the momentum now behind the men from Milton Keynes.
Vettel is now the 1.35n/a clear favourite to retain his 2010 and 2011 titles, and join the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Jackie Stewart and Michael Schumacher as three-times title winners. Alonso is now out at 4.0n/a and although he has scored more podium finishes than any other driver this season, he really needs Ferrari to bring some more speed to his F2012 else the title race will be even more of an uphill battle.
With 100 points available and a 48-point deficit to the leader, it looks as if Kimi Raikkonen can now be discounted from the title race, as can Hamilton, a further 14 points behind the Finn. Raikkonen has finished every racing lap this year so his consistency is not in question, but the last time he finished ahead of Vettel in a race was in Hungary back at the end of July. Lewis Hamilton's three retirements in Germany, Belgium and Singapore, coupled with Red Bull's step forward in pace, also appear to have put paid to his title aspirations.
Red Bull now hold a commanding 77-point lead in the Constructor's Championship after a nightmare race for McLaren, who have fallen behind Ferrari after the Scuderia finished third and fourth. Jenson Button was eliminated on the first lap after being assaulted by Kamui Kobayashi's out of control Sauber, while Lewis Hamilton struggled all afternoon with his car balance, forcing him to stop three times and then picked up some loose Astroturf under his car which nearly allowed Sergio Perez to pip him for tenth place on the last lap. 1.02n/a is the current price for Red Bull, while McLaren are right out at 26.0n/a and everyone else starts at 100.0n/a. Barring a major turnaround in form and reliability, this race looks as if it is run for this season.