Vettel was next to blink, almost finding himself collected in the pit-lane by the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen, prematurely released from his pit box – whilst Alonso's stop shortly after was rather more straightforward. Hamilton was busy fighting his own way back up through the order – clearing Pérez and Sutil in fairly short shrift – as Vettel set another new fastest lap with nine tours to go. Next up for Hamilton was a defensive Rosberg in P6. Once cleared, di Resta was next on the menu – and the distance between the pair was soon gobbled up. Easy meat.
With six laps remaining, the other McLaren
of Button was pushing on, and inexorably reducing his deficit to Vettel, bringing it down from over 13 seconds to just over eight – and lapping as much as two seconds-a-lap quicker. With five laps left to run, Button could see
his prey and much as in Montreal, was throwing caution to the wind – and Vettel was struggling in traffic. With three laps to go, the gap was just 3.7 seconds.
Button lost critical time behind the internecine Williams
duel – some two seconds in all – meaning the margin was 5.7 seconds with two laps to go, with Jaime Alguersuari
dumping his Scuderia Toro Rosso
into the same Turn 18 wall as had claimed Glock earlier on and Vettel coming upon the fierce five-way scrap over seventh place on the final lap. Even that, however, would not be quite enough for Button to be able to take advantage, try as he might, and the difference between the pair at the chequered flag was a scant 1.7 seconds. Just one more lap...
Behind the leading two protagonists, Webber, Alonso and Hamilton came in spaced apart in third, fourth and fifth respectively, with Singapore rookie di Resta the last driver not to be lapped in sixth at the end of a superb performance. The tussle over seventh was resolved in favour of Rosberg from Sutil, Massa and Pérez. Outside of the points, Pastor Maldonado, Sébastien Buemi, Rubens Barrichello, Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov, Jérôme d'Ambrosio, Ricciardo and Liuzzi completed the finishers.
So as F1 heads next to Japan in a fortnight's time, one point is all Vettel requires, and then for another year at least his title rivals will have to kiss their title hopes sayonara
To see the race results in full, click here