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Indian Grand Prix: Titles sealed, focus turns to the runners-up

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing have clinched the 2013 driver and constructor championships respectively, and now the attention will turn to who will be the best of the rest.
All Sebastian Vettel had to do today in India was finish firth or better, something that the driver consistently said would be no easy feat despite Vettel riding the crest of a wave after five consecutive Grand Prix wins.

But the 26-year-old is not a man to do things by halves, and if he was going to win the title this weekend then it was going to be in style, with outright victory to make it a half dozen in succession, and that's exactly what he achieved at Buddh International Circuit on Sunday afternoon.

In fact the title battle was over in turn 1 when Fernando Alonso damaged his front wing and was forced to pit for a new one, meaning that he had little hope of finishing in the points let alone claiming the win that he needed.

The net result in the championship standings is that Vettel pulls away to 322 points while Alonso remains becalmed on 207, a gap between them of 115 points with only three races and a maximum of 75 points left on the table. Vettel can't be beaten and the title is his.

Alonso still has a 24 point margin over Kimi Raikkonen, who did all he could to keep his hopes for the runners-up position alive with a feisty finish that saw him drive his own team mate Romain Grosjean off the track rather than meekly surrender the points. The Finn still has a decent chance of overtaking Alonso in the remaining races of the year at Abu Dhabi, Texas and Sao Paulo, but he has only 14 points in hand over Lewis Hamilton who is on 169 points.

Hamilton is 21 points ahead of Mark Webber, whose DNF in India means he falls off the back of one Mercedes and right into the clutches of the other - Nico Rosberg scythes off a whopping 18 points off the from the Australian's margin of advantage meaning there are just four points between them in the battle for fifth place. Both men have little to worry from Romain Grosjean and Felipe Massa, who despite strong points hauls in India are still tied on 102, 42 points away from Rosberg.

In the constructors' championship, Red Bull have also sealed their own fourth consecutive title in 2013 despite Webber not finishing. Vettel's points for first place were enough to seal the deal for the team as well, putting them on 470 points - 157 ahead of the next-best team, with only 129 points available as a maximum from the remainder of the season. Job done, then, for Christian Horner and the boys back at Milton Keynes.

What's interesting is that the runners-up spot has changed hands, with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton adding 26 points to Mercedes' total compared with just 12 points for Ferrari from the efforts of Massa after Fernando Alonso ended up pointless in India in 11th place. That puts Mercedes back into the second spot, but by just four points over Ferrari - very much everything to play for there.

And let's not forget Lotus, who managed to get both cars into the top ten (and Grosjean on the podium) to pull closer to Ferrari, jut 24 points off joining the battle for the runners-up position. After that it's a long way off before we get to McLaren who now appear secure in fifth place on 93 points although they would likely have hoped for better from India than just the ten points netted by Sergio Perez' fifth place finish this weekend.

That still eases them a few points further away from Force India who are in sixth place in the constructors' battle on 68 points, despite Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil both finishing in the points for the first time since Silverstone. That eases them away from Sauber after Nico Hulkenberg's late retirement left the Swiss team pointless in India; Toro Rosso benefited from Hulkenberg's retirement with Daniel Ricciardo getting a solitary point for the team as a result.

The ferocity of the battle for just that one single point shows that the 2013 season is far from over. The titles may be decided, but the championship goes on for the rest of the teams and drivers seeking to secure that crucial advantage in the standings heading into the winter.

See full championship standings.




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The Lotus F1 E22 running new 18 inch Pirelli tyres and rims.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Charles Pic (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Third Driver.
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The Lotus F1 E22 running new 18 inch Pirelli tyres and rims.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Marussia F1 Team truck in the paddock.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Charles Pic (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Third Driver leaves the pits running new 18 inch Pirelli tyres and rims.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Charles Pic (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Third Driver leaves the pits running new 18 inch Pirelli tyres and rims.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Charles Pic (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Third Driver leaves the pits running new 18 inch Pirelli tyres and rims.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Charles Pic (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Third Driver leaves the pits running new 18 inch Pirelli tyres and rims.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Charles Pic (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Third Driver leaves the pits running new 18 inch Pirelli tyres and rims.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Charles Pic (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Third Driver leaves the pits running new 18 inch Pirelli tyres and rims.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren MP4-29.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren MP4-29.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren MP4-29.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.
Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9.
09.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Wednesday.

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