Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso insist battle for Drivers' title is still open
Dislodged title leader Alonso still thinks he has a "very good" title shot
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 14/10/12 1:13pm
Sebastian Vettel's third consecutive victory in Korea may have consolidated his status as the favourite for the world title but neither the German nor his direct rival Fernando Alonso believe the battle is close to being settled yet.
Having overcome what by Red Bull's standards was a mini slump in form to win three races on the spin over the past month, Vettel has now toppled Alonso from the points summit for the first time since June.
With the other would-be contenders having fallen by the wayside in recent races, Vettel and Alonso now appear to have entered into a straight duel for what would be their respective third world titles - with the former's current car advantage making him the clear favourite.
However, in wake of a season in which the balance of power has swung regularly, and at times unannounced, the reigning Champion insists Red Bull cannot afford to take anything for granted over the final four races.
"Obviously we had a good couple of last races but if you look at the season so far it was up and down for all of us, up and down for ourselves as well," Vettel told Sky Sports F1.
"We had races we enjoyed, we had races we didn't enjoy, we had successful races, not successful races.
"I think the last couple of races it was key to do our thing, nothing came in our way and so we have to try and keep that momentum and do exactly the same in the next couple of races."
Indeed, although he may have seen his championship position turned from a 40-point advantage just five races ago into a six-point deficit, Alonso also continues to stress that the destination of the 2012 title is far from a formality.
The Spaniard, although acknowledging Red Bull's continuing show of strength, said that Ferrari could be very content with third and fourth places in Korea.
"It was a good Sunday for us," he told Sky F1's Natalie Pinkham.
"After the retirement in Suzuka we knew we had to finish this race, we had to score some good points. We had some doubts; on the start, on the wrong side of the grid, the run into turn three, the tyre degradation. Many factors there was a question mark going into the race and now being on the podium is a great achievement for us.
"Obviously Red Bull were winning in Singapore, first and second in qualifying in Suzuka, winning in Suzuka, first and second qualifying here and first and second in the race here, so when a team does [something] like this we just need to concentrate on our work, doing the maximum. I think the podium today was the maximum."
And although the momentum may be firmly with the reigning Champions heading to India, Alonso says the sharply fluctuating fortunes experienced by McLaren in recent times shows how easily the picture can change.
"McLaren three races ago seemed unbeatable and they were favourites for all the races remaining in the championship. Now they are out of the points and we are second in the Constructors' Championship," he pointed out.
"So things can change very quickly and I think for that we need to remain confident because I don't think Red Bull will win all the races. This goes up and down and we need to take our opportunities."