Vettel by a country mile

Vettel by a country mile
Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (right) regaining the lead from Nico Rosberg, who challenged him at the start but was too fast into the first corner and ran wide.

SINGAPORE - It is said that there are no certainties in life.

But when Sebastian Vettel qualified in pole for the Formula One SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, the air of inevitability surrounding the race's destiny was undeniable.

After two consecutive wins at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, he turned in a dominating performance in his Red Bull last night to become the Singapore race's first three-time winner.

The German's winning margin - 32.627sec from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso - was the widest this season and extended his lead in the drivers' championship standings over the Spaniard to 60 points, with six races remaining.

Joining them on the podium was Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, who staged a remarkable comeback which began with him starting from 13th on the grid.

But the night belonged to Vettel, who moved a step closer to joining Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as the only men to win four straight crowns.

"The car was incredible," the 2010, 2011 and 2012 world champion said, paying tribute to the team's mechanics and engineers.

"If we have results like today where we have the luxury to control the race, it's because of the commitment from everybody."

Yet while he finished comfortably, the 26-year-old had to endure a shaky start to his evening.

With Nico Rosberg, lining up second on the grid, making an early move that put him in the lead, it was thanks only to the Mercedes running wide at Turn 2 that allowed Vettel to reclaim the lead.

It was, as the race winner later pointed out, the decisive moment of the race.

"I was a bit lazy off the line," he admitted. "Fortunately, he (Rosberg) went a little bit too deep and I could get it back."

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