It’s becoming less and less likely that anyone is going to catch Sebastian Vettel this year in the Formula One points standings.
The three-time F1 champion German won his first race on his home-country soil by one second, propelling him ahead of the pack and into a comfortable 34-point lead as the group approaches the midpoint of their 2013 season.
Germany was the ninth race of the calendar year, leaving just 10 remaining races before a champion is crowned this year.
Next up is a race in Budapest, Hungary, that will give some of the other top contenders a shot at getting back in contention.
Let’s take a look at a couple of the top contenders who are trailing Vettel and examine their chances of coming away with the title.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso kept himself in contention, solidifying his No. 2 position in the rankings with a fourth-place finish in Germany. He came in just over seven seconds behind Vettel to earn 12 points.
He has two race wins to this point and has finished in the top eight of each event with exception to a non-finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix back in March.
Ferrari’s finest driver will have to be more consistent, though, in terms of finishing in the top of the standings each race if he hopes to keep pace and eventually surpass Vettel in the long run.
Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen came in second place in Germany, nearly taking the spot from Vettel in the closing moments. If not for an untimely stop for tires, he may have been able to take the checkered flag.
"Maybe we should have gambled, the tires were good," Raikkonen said, according to AP reporting (h/t Speed TV). "I wonder if we should have gone to the end.”
As it currently sits now, Raikkonen is in third place, trailing Vettel by 41 points. That’s surely not an insurmountable deficit with as much racing as there is left, but it is a sizeable margin considering how well the leader continues to perform.
Brit Lewis Hamilton may not have a real chance at competing with Vettel for the title, but he didn’t hurt his chances by staying in contention with a fifth-place finish in Germany. Heading into the race, Hamilton won the pole but failed to transition that success to a win on Sunday.
He currently sits in fourth place in the rankings but might as well be an eternity behind the leader, as he trails by 58 points with 10 races remaining.
If Hamilton and his Mercedes team can’t figure out a solution to their tire woes, it’s going to be a long second half for the contender.