Horner taking nothing for granted
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is aware of just how easily this year's F1 world title could slip through the fingers of Sebastian Vettel.
The 26-year-old German opened up a 46-point cushion over his rivals on Sunday with victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, his largest margin of the year to date, with Fernando Alonso now his closest challenger.
It seems inconceivable Vettel will blow his lead from such a position of strength, with his odds on making it four successive championships now slashed to 1-7 by William Hill.
But you only have to look back at what happened a year ago as Alonso had a 39-point lead over Vettel following the Italian Grand Prix, in which the latter retired, only to blow it.
So when asked whether Vettel's triumph at Spa-Francorchamps meant it was game over in the championship, Horner replied: "No, definitely not. There is still a long, long way to go.
"It's obviously great to start the second half of the season with a victory, but as we've seen so far form moves around from race to race, circuit to circuit.
"Yes, it was a dominant win and his confidence is obviously high, he is driving extremely well. He put in a faultless performance at Spa.
"But things can change very quickly, just as we saw last year when he managed to turn things around on Fernando.
"So our approach will be to take it one race at a time, to get the best out of each weekend."
Suggested to Horner it was unthinkable Vettel could let things slip, he replied: "Fernando managed to do it, so nothing is impossible.
"With 25 points for a victory, if you have a couple of DNFs (did not finish) and if somebody puts a run together, then you can be on the back foot again.
"We've obviously got ourselves in a strong position, but we'll take it one step at a time."
Vettel was comfortably ahead of Alonso and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in the race, the latter now 58 points off the lead.
Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, is 63 points adrift after failing to finish a race for the first time in 39 grands prix due to a brake failure.
Although Horner maintains "you cannot write anybody off", he has suggested Raikkonen may now be too far back to challenge.
"Kimi had a bad day but he is still in there, Lewis and Fernando as well because at this stage there are still a lot of points available," said Horner.
"But you would probably have to say the podium guys will be the main contenders between now and the end of the year."
Alonso, who again hauled his Ferrari on to the podium when it perhaps had no right to be there after he started from ninth on the grid, can only hope he does to Vettel what the German did to him last year.
"The championship is open, and the best example we have is from last year," said Alonso.
"After Monza I was leading by 39 points to Sebastian, but when I arrived in Texas (for the United States Grand Prix) I was 13 points behind, so things can change very quickly.
"If you have a competitive car and you win four or five consecutive races like Sebastian did last year in India, Japan, Singapore etc, then you can recover very quickly.
"Whether we are in a position to do that, we will find out very soon.
"We just have to keep developing, keep improving performance and try to repeat what happened last year, but the other way around."