Sebastian Vettel swept into the Formula 1 World Championship lead by delivering a dominant victory in the Korean Grand Prix. Vettel's third consecutive race win came at the head of a Red Bull 1-2, with team Mark Webber in second.
Polesitter Webber immediately lost the lead to Vettel off the line, and after fending off the Australian's attempted retaliation at Turn 3, Vettel was free to pull away. His lead got up to around 10 seconds before he focused on nursing his tires to the flag.
Fernando Alonso muscled his way up to third in a busy first lap, but had no answer to the Red Bulls' pace. The former points leader kept Webber vaguely in sight as he completed the podium.
McLaren had a disastrous day. Jenson Button was taken out on lap one when Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi hit both Button and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg at Turn 3.
Lewis Hamilton ran fourth behind Alonso in the first stint before losing pace on his second set of tires. He was overtaken by both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen before switching to a three-stop strategy. That left Hamilton back in 10th, his efforts to recover positions stymied when he picked up a large piece of artificial turf in the final laps.
Having dispatched Hamilton, Massa closed in on Ferrari team-mate Alonso. He received a radio message requesting that he hold formation, and duly finished fourth, ahead of Raikkonen's Lotus.
Nico Hulkenberg drove an excellent race to sixth for Force India, delivering one of the most exciting moments of a largely tedious race when he passed both Romain Grosjean and Hamilton in one sweep as the Lotus and McLaren diced. Grosjean took seventh.
Toro Rosso had a superb afternoon. Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo came through from their lowly grid positions to eighth and ninth, swapping places late on as Ricciardo's tires faded. Hamilton's astroturf drama meant the McLaren fell back after putting the STR duo under heavy pressure.
Mercedes' race was as disappointing as McLaren's. Following Rosberg's early exit, Michael Schumacher lacked pace throughout and was eventually pushed back to 13th behind Sergio Perez and Paul di Resta.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS
The Korean Grand Prix
Korean International Circuit, Korea;
55 laps; 308.630km;
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h36:28.651
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 8.200
3. Alonso Ferrari + 13.900
4. Massa Ferrari + 20.100
5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 36.700
6. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 45.300
7. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 54.800
8. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:09.500
9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:11.700
10. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 1:19.600
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:20.000
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:24.400
13. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:29.200
14. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:34.900
15. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:36.900
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 lap2
20. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Fastest lap: Webber, 1:42.037
Driver Team On lap
De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 17
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 17
Rosberg Mercedes 2
Button McLaren-Mercedes 1
World Championship standings, round 16:
1. Vettel 215 1. Red Bull-Renault 367
2. Alonso 209 2. Ferrari 290
3. Raikkonen 167 3. McLaren-Mercedes 284
4. Hamilton 153 4. Lotus-Renault 255
5. Webber 152 5. Mercedes 136
6. Button 131 6. Sauber-Ferrari 116
7. Rosberg 93 7. Force India-Mercedes 89
8. Grosjean 88 8. Williams-Renault 58
9. Massa 81 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 21
10. Perez 66
11. Kobayashi 50
12. Hulkenberg 45
13. Di Resta 44
14. Schumacher 43
15. Maldonado 33
16. Senna 25
17. Vergne 12
18. Ricciardo 9
All timing unofficial