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.