Lewis Hamilton, having already ruled himself out of F1 title contention this year, closed the Korean Grand Prix weekend by officially writing off everyone else's chances too.

The Briton only managed fifth place in the race, despite having started from the front row of the grid, and conceded third place in the standings to Kimi Raikkonen in the process. However, it wasn't his points standing that concerned Hamilton most as he reflected on another period of Vettel dominance, following the German's fourth win in as many races since F1 returned from its summer break.

"He has won already, unless he doesn't finish the rest of the races," the Briton said, "And, even if he doesn't [finish], he has probably still won it.

"I feel for the fans because I remember the period of time when Michael Schumacher was winning. I remember waking up in the morning to watch the start of the race and then going to sleep, and then waking up when it ended because I already knew what would happen. I am pretty sure a lot of people were doing that."

Hamilton's frustration will not have been helped by the fact that he was prevented from even challenging for the podium after becoming trapped behind the stubborn Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg. Insisting that both he and Fernando Alonso, who chased him across the line, should be 'further ahead and fighting with the world champions at the front', the Briton admitted that he was now working to push Mercedes as high up the teams' table as possible in the remaining five races.

"We are only one point behind Ferrari, so we've got to make sure that, in these next five races, we consistently beat them, " the 28-year old said, "Second in the constructors' would be huge for us, so that's my goal."

While Hamilton was accusing Vettel of making F1 predictable, the German's team boss was lauding him alongside the likes of Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio, the only other drivers to win four titles on the bounce.

"Should he achieve it, I think [everyone] will have to," Christian Horner told reporters in the Korean paddock, "He has got to be right up there.

"To have won the ratio of races that he has is quite remarkable. The kind of level that he is performing at is unbelievable in many respects, [but] what has been really impressive is that he has continued to develop, continued to grow, as he has gained more experience.

"He is only just 26 years of age, but he works so hard at it. What you guys don't see is, behind the scenes, how much effort he puts into his preparation, his training. He is hugely self-critical, always looking at areas where he can improve, where he can be better [and] it is that inward-looking [attitude] that keeps propelling and driving him forward."

Vettel goes into this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix with an outside chance of securing his fourth crown, although he needs to win the race with Alonso finishing outside the top eight. With 125 points still on the board, however, his 77-point lead isn't yet completely unbeatable, and Horner is reluctant to speak definitively about a crown that he insists he never expected to be coming his way.

"To win it in the first place was special, and to defend it was remarkable, [but] we never thought we could surpass the triple," the veteran team boss conceded, "If we get a fourth, it would be something the whole team would be blown away by. It would be phenomenal."