Sebastian Vettel notched up four wins from the latest back-to-back races in 2013 to make it eight victories in total so far as he builds seemingly unstoppable momentum towards clinching this year's world championship.
While things could scarcely look any brighter for Vettel, they were somewhat more overcast at the Korea International Circuit on Sunday morning. The sunshine and blue skies of the previous days might have disappeared overnight, but the early threat of the rain in Yeongam had disappeared and it wasn't even quite as cool as had been feared, temperatures still managing to nudge into 20C as Sebastian Vettel led the cars round on the formation lap to the starting grid.
When the lights went out, Vettel got a textbook start and leapt into turn 1 unopposed, while Lewis Hamilton was under immediate pressure from the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. The Mercedes made it through turn 1 in front, but then lost advantage in the run down to turn 3 and had no option but to allow Grosjean complete the pass through the hairpin, dropping Hamilton to third ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg in fourth and Nico Hulkenberg in fifth.
The hairpin proved messy for a number of cars, both Force India's Adrian Sutil and McLaren's Jenson Button reporting front wing damage of varying degrees. But there was worse to come for Felipe Massa, who strayed onto the kerb and spun, narrowly avoiding collecting his own Ferrari team mate Fernando Alonso in the process. The incident dropped the Brazilian down to last place by the time he was able to recover, but Alonso was able to continue in sixth place ahead of the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo.
Once the initial hairpin chaos was out of the way, the race quickly settled down and Vettel pulled out a two second lead by the end of the first lap but thereafter seemed content to stabilise his advantage over Grosjean rather than tax the tyres by trying to pull away any further. The first notable change in position after that was Kimi Raikkonen calmly managing to pass Ricciardo for seventh place on lap 4, which allowed him to line up Alonso for a successful pass on lap 9 at the hairpin.
Further back, Mark Webber was busy recovering from his grid penalty held over from his Singapore race. He broke into the top ten and moved up into ninth on lap 6 with an easy move on Pastor Maldonado, the Williams having been the biggest gainer at the start having initially made up nine spots. Webber was able to continue the momentum with a lap 8 pass on Ricciardo for eighth at the hairpin.
With the exception of Ricciardo, all the cars had started on the supersoft options, but Sutil and Button's early stops for new front wings allowed them an early change to the prime medium compound and on lap 7 Button was the fastest man on the track, encouraging other drivers to reconsider their planned two-stop strategies: Massa came in on lap 7 and Maldonado, Paul di Resta and Esteban Gutierrez were in next time by, and the effect rippled through the rest of the field who were obliged to react to their rivals' decisions.
By the time that he pitted at the end of lap 11, Vettel was the last of the leaders to come in for a change to the medium tyres. He was able to resume in front of Grosjean and Hamilton, with Ricciardo the only driver yet to make his first stop briefly promoted to fourth place but going much slower that the cars around him on fresh rubber. With the exception of Alonso getting back in front of Raikkonen and looking much happier on his new set of primes, the running order of among the leaders was essentially unchanged after the cycle of visits to pit road.