Greater Noida: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel extended his 2012 Formula One championship lead over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by winning the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit on Sunday. The win, which is Vettel's fourth consecutive triumph of the season, increased his lead in the drivers' championship table to 13 points over Alonso with three more races to go in the season.
Starting the race from the pole position, the defending champion didn't let off and maintained the lead over Alonso, who finished second, and team-mate Mark Webber, whose Red Bull crossed the chequered flag as the third car. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, followed by team-mate Jenson Button in the fifth and Ferrari's Felipe Massa in sixth.
Sahara Force India's Nico Hulkenberg finished the race in the eighth position with team-mate Paul di Resta in the 12th.
Vettel and Alonso claiming the top two podium spots meant the fight for the title between the two will now go down to the wire in the final three races of the season. When asked about this, Vettel said it was too close to call yet. "It's a big step for us but there is a long way to go and we know how quickly things can change," the champion Red Bull driver said.
Alonso admitted that it was the second best result he could have hoped for and hoped to run Vettel close with upgrades to his car expected ahead of next week's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. "It's not easy at the moment to fight with Red Bull but we never give up," the Ferrari driver said. "We want the joy in Brazil, not only here, and I am sure we will do it."
The other Red Bull driver Mark Webber maintained his second position until lap 48 but failure of his KERS power boost system provided Alonso the opportunity to overtake him. Webber then slogged it out with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to finish third on the podium.
Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus maintained his third position on the leaderboard with a seventh-place finish. Force India's Hulkenberg, Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Williams' Bruno Senna completed the top 10 line-up.