Sebastian Vettel cruised to his 10th win of the season at the Korean Grand Prix, wrapping up back-to-back Constructors' World Championship titles for Red Bull in the process.
The German, who took the drivers' title last weekend in Japan, started second on the grid alongside Lewis Hamilton, but outbraked his McLaren into Turn 4 on the opening lap to take a decisive advantage.
A four-second lead was wiped out when Vitaly Petrov took Michael Schumacher out of the race at Turn 3, the resultant debris bringing out the safety car. But when racing resumed, Vettel was again able to pull away. His eventual winning margin over Hamilton was 11sec.
Hamilton's runner-up spot was anything but easy. Mark Webber, in the second Red Bull, was never more than 1.5sec behind him, and closed onto the McLaren driver's tail during the second half of the race. A quick decision to bring Hamilton in for his final pit stop just as his rear tires were beginning to go off managed to keep him ahead of Webber, who stopped on the same lap.
The Australian seemed to have more pace than the Briton, the pair running side-by-side for a number of corners on lap 34, and Webber eventually making it into second at the first corner with five laps to go. Blessed with the superior traction of the McLaren, and employing a tactic of using all his KERS and DRS at the same time, Hamilton retook the position seconds later on the long run down to Turn 3, and held it to the finish, even setting the fastest lap on the penultimate tour.
Jenson Button fell from third to sixth on the opening lap following strong starts from Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. Such was Massa's lack of pace on worn tires, that Nico Rosberg made it a four-way battle for the position as they approached the opening round of pit stops. While Alonso dropped out of the battle after staying out too long on worn rubber, the action concerned Button and Rosberg, who pitted together on lap 14.
Rosberg got out ahead of Button, the Briton giving way at the pit exit after running side-by-side with the Mercedes driver down the pitlane, but then surrendered the position by outbraking himself and running wide as the rejoined the track. Rosberg regained the place with the aid of DRS a few seconds later, but could only keep the McLaren behind him for another lap.
Massa, by this stage, had fallen behind the pair, and was also overtaken by Alonso at the second round of stops, after a couple of sensational laps from the Spaniard on old rubber. Button and Alonso finished fourth and fifth, just behind the Hamilton/Webber battle, while Massa was next up.
Jaime Alguersuari put in another strong performance to finish seventh, the Spaniard passing Rosberg for the position on the final lap after a couple of unsuccessful earlier attempts, while his Toro Rosso teammate Sebastien Buemi was one place further back.
Paul di Resta completed the points scorers, ahead of his Force India teammate Adrian Sutil, while Pastor Maldonado - who was in the mix with the Force Indias behind the safety car, was given a drive-through penalty for hitting a bollard at pit entry, and later retired.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS
The Korean Grand Prix
Korea Auto Valley, Yongam, Korea;
55 laps; 305.909km;
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h30:01.994
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 12.019
3. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 12.477
4. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 14.694
5. Alonso Ferrari + 15.689
6. Massa Ferrari + 25.133
7. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 49.538
8. Rosberg Mercedes + 54.053
9. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:02.762
10. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:08.602
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:11.229
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:33.068
13. Senna Renault + 1 lap
14. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
15. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
17. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
21. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:39.605
Driver Team On lap
Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 31
Petrov Renault 17
Schumacher Mercedes 16
World Championship standings, round 16:
1. Vettel 349 1. Red Bull-Renault 558
2. Button 222 2. McLaren-Mercedes 418
3. Alonso 212 3. Ferrari 310
4. Webber 209 4. Mercedes 127
5. Hamilton 196 5. Renault 72
6. Massa 98 6. Force India-Mercedes 49
7. Rosberg 67 7. Sauber-Ferrari 40
8. Schumacher 60 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 37
9. Petrov 36 9. Williams-Cosworth 5
10. Heidfeld 34
11. Sutil 28
12. Kobayashi 27
13. Alguersuari 22
14. Di Resta 21
15. Buemi 15
16. Perez 13
17. Barrichello 4
18. Senna 2
19. Maldonado 1
All timing unofficial