Alonso: Nothing can stop Vettel
Fernando Alonso has suggested only a miracle can save him now after watching Sebastian Vettel close in on his fourth consecutive world title.
Since the conclusion of the summer break Vettel has been unstoppable, winning four successive races to open up a 77-point gap to Alonso.
The Spaniard could do no better than sixth in a Korean Grand Prix won for a third consecutive year by Vettel, who was joined on the podium by Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
It means, should Vettel take the chequered flag in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka - where he won his second title two years ago - and Alonso is ninth or worse, he will make it four in a row.
Naturally, Alonso is refusing to throw in the towel, although he knows the writing is on the wall.
"Vettel is a very long way off in terms of points, and we cannot expect miracles between now and the end of the championship," said Alonso.
"Second place in the constructors' championship is probably a more realistic target, but one thing is certain, we are not giving up now and we will give it our best shot right to the very end."
Although Vettel has a place in F1's history books in his sights, as only Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher have won four straight crowns - the latter managed five - he is playing it coy.
"I'm trying not to think about it (the title), to be honest," said Vettel.
"I'm trying to focus more on the present. We obviously won the title two years ago in Japan, but there are still a lot of points to get.
"Even though it looks very good for us, there is still a chance for Fernando, so we have to stay on top of our game.
"Right now we're just having a good time, I'm just loving what I do, and we enjoy the fact the team is working very well."
Should Vettel achieve his obvious goal at Suzuka, he knows there can be no better place to wrap up the championship.
"It's the best track in the world, to be honest," said Vettel.
"The fans are crazy - completely crazy - in a positive way. We get massive support there, they are big fans of motor sport, passionate about Formula One. They enjoy the whole weekend.
"So I'm really looking forward to Japan, one of the highlights of the season."
Vettel survived two safety car periods to take victory, with Sergio Perez's McLaren suffering a tyre blowout, whilst Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber's Red Bull caught fire after the oil radiator was speared by Adrian Sutil's spinning Force India.
Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg was fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes and then Alonso, with Jenson Button eighth for McLaren.
Paul Di Resta again failed to score a point for the sixth successive race after a spin that sent him into a barrier, whilst Marussia's Max Chilton was 17th and last.