Vettel tightens grip on title but plays down large lead

WORLD champion Sebastian Vettel led from start to finish at the Turkish Grand Prix to claim his third victory of the season and increase his lead in the title race to 34 points.

The German encountered few problems on course to victory and team-mate Mark Webber completed the Red Bull team’s 11th career one-two, passing Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with only five laps left.

Vettel reinforced the impression that he is coasting to an emphatic title defence, with a huge gap separating him from a chasing pack led by Lewis Hamilton. “We had a smooth race, a very good start and then I was able to pull a gap in the first stint, which was crucial as that let us stay out a lap longer than the others. We always had a cushion,” said Vettel.

“The day you start to think you are unbeatable is the day you are beaten. We are racing at the highest level where we all try to win.

“But there is always someone at some point who will teach you a lesson and will give you a very hard time and beat you. It’s been a good start to the season, but there is a long, long way to go.”

The McLarens of Hamilton and Jenson Button finished fourth and sixth respectively after an absorbing battle in which the English teammates swapped track position on several occasions. Hamilton prevailed following a cunning pit stop but Button was left disappointed after Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg passed him late on when his tyres faded.