Formula One

 
              === Alonso, Vettel take F1 title fight to Korea ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA (Sports  Network) -  Look  out Fernando  Alonso, here  comes
 Sebastian Vettel.
 
 After  winning  the past two  grand prix -- Singapore  and Japan -- Vettel has
 moved  to within  four points of Alonso  for the lead in the Formula One world
 championship  standings.  Just five  races remain  in what  is appearing to be
 another epic battle between the two for the title.
 
 Two  years ago, Alonso  held a 25-point lead over Vettel with two races to go,
 but  Vettel  won in  Brazil and Abu  Dhabi to clinch  the championship by four
 points over Alonso.
 
 Vettel,  who  is attempting to win  his third consecutive F1 championship, has
 gained 35 points on Alonso since the Sept. 9 Italian Grand Prix.
 
 Last  Sunday,  Vettel put  on a  dominating performance  in the Japanese Grand
 Prix.  The Red Bull  driver started on the pole and led all 53 laps around the
 3.6-mile  Suzuka course.  He crossed the finish line 20.6 seconds ahead of his
 closest competitor, Felipe Massa, who is Alonso's teammate at Ferrari.
 
 "In  terms of the championship, this race was a big step and it helped us, but
 we  see how quickly things can change," Vettel said after his win in Japan. "I
 want  to be  very careful, because it's  still a long way ahead, and there's a
 lot of things that can happen."
 
 While Vettel was unstoppable in the Japanese GP, Alonso crashed on the opening
 lap.  He suffered  a punctured tire and  spun around in the first corner after
 Kimi Raikkonen from Lotus made contact with him.
 
 "Clearly, we must work a lot on the development of the car," Alonso said. "I'm
 not  worried, but we must react to the step forward that the other competitors
 have made. Now we start a sort of mini-championship run over five grands prix.
 The  aim  will be to score  at least one point  more than all the others. What
 happened  to  us (in  Japan) could happen  to the others  next time. The wheel
 turns, and that is what races are all about."
 
 Sunday's Korean Grand Prix is the next round on the 2012 F1 calendar.
 
 After  Korea,  F1 moves  on to  India (Oct. 28),  then Abu  Dhabi (Nov. 4) and
 Austin, Texas (Nov. 18) before the season wraps up in Brazil (Nov. 25).
 
 This  will be  the third  time F1  competes at  the 3.49-mile,  18-turn Korean
 International  Circuit in  Yeongam, South Korea. Alonso won the inaugural race
 in 2010, while Vettel is the defending winner of the event.
 
 When the racing circuit ran in Korea one year ago, Vettel had already clinched
 his  second straight title.  But Red Bull had yet to wrap up the constructors'
 champion.  Vettel's  victory  there  gave  allowed  the  team  to  secure  the
 championship for the second year in a row.
 
 Right  now,  Red Bull  leads in  the constructors'  standings with 324 points,
 compared to 283 for McLaren and 263 for Ferrari.
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, Oct. 14. Race: Korean Grand Prix. Site:
 Korean International Circuit. Track: 3.49-mile (5.621-kilometer), 18-turn road
 course. Start Time: 2 a.m. (et). Laps: 55. Miles: 191.773 (308.630 km). 2011
 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: Speed.
 
 
 10/11 13:54:36 ET

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