It was all a bit too easy for Sebastian Vettel this weekend as he cruised to his fourth consecutive victory, this time at the Indian Grand Prix.
In a routine lights-to-flag win, the German extended his championship lead over Fernando Alonso to 13 points, with team-mate Mark Webber coming home third.
The team from Tilbrook have looked unbeatable of late. Since the somewhat fortunate victory in Singapore last month when Vettel took the lead courtesy of Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren retiring from the lead at the half-way stage, the German has led every lap of the Japanese, Korean and Indian races, making him odds on favourite to win his third title in a row.
The writing was on the wall after the first practice session on Friday morning. Vettel led the way in ominous fashion, with the rest left trailing in his wake.
Come qualifying, there was only going to be one man on pole position as Vettel secured his fifth of the year with Mark Webber in second to complete the Red Bull front row lock out.
And as the lights went out, both Red Bulls got off to a perfect start and quickly disappeared off in front while the drama unfolded behind them.
Alonso, starting fifth, got the jump on both McLarens and went off chasing Webber, but couldn’t get near him until the first round of pit stops.
On the harder tyres, the Ferrari cruised up to the back of the Australian but couldn’t find a way past him, despite the advantage of DRS along the back straight.
But when Webber complained of a KERS failure, he was a sitting duck for Alonso who breezed past him to take second place.
Vettel was so far out in front that he had enough of a gap to cruise home without having to panic about the fast approaching Alonso behind.
There was some drama for the world champion though, as his car lost one of the skid blocks from under the car, launching showers of sparks down the track, though it didn’t detract from his performance.
Webber, still without KERS, was then a target for the late charging Hamilton, who set his sights on the final step on the podium.
As the gap between the pair closed just a second, Webber was able to hold off the Englishman for the remaining laps to keep hold of third place.
After the race, Vettel admitted it was a routine victory
He said: “All in all, it was a very good race for us and I’m happy with the result.
“I had a good start, Mark had a better one and it was close in Turn 1, but I had a good exit from Turn 3 and got ahead.
“I was able to open a gap, which was important. I felt very good on the soft tyres and was competitive, I could have stayed out even longer I think, but at some stage you have to cover.
“McLaren and Ferrari were quick on the hard tyre today, so it was important to have a gap to them.
“I saw some sparks at the end from the car, but we saw a lot of cars throwing sparks this weekend, and we joined them. It was a great day for us and an important step.”
Webber meanwhile was left to curse the KERS failure which cost him second place to Alonso.
He said: “We had a KERS issue that we had to manage. It’s maybe hard for people watching to know what it affects on the car, its power on the straight obviously, but also managing brake balances and those sort of things.
“The guys were trying to help me get the KERS to recover and were talking with me on the radio.
“In addition, when you have a one-stop race, it’s always a chance you have a front-right lock up. As the fronts are very important you need to look after them which can affect the rhythm a little bit, but I tried to stay as cool as possible.
“Overall, I was pretty happy with how I drove; we should have finished further up the road, but it’s the way it was today.”
Next week, the teams take to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.