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Vettel beaten but further ahead than ever

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was overtaken by both McLarens in the Hungarian Grand Prix yet ended up with an even bigger lead in the Formula One championship already beyond the reach of most of his rivals.

The German world champion, who won six of the first eight races, has now been beaten in the last three grands prix and struggled in damp conditions on intermediate tyres before benefiting from a penalty given to Lewis Hamilton to finish second.

"Today I'm not 100 percent happy because I started from pole and had the feeling we could win the race," he told reporters after McLaren's Jenson Button reached the chequered flag first. "Second is an important step but the win was in reach today."

Vettel's driving skills have come under greater scrutiny than ever in recent races but he is 85 points ahead of team mate Mark Webber, his biggest lead of the campaign so far.

With eight races to come after a month's break, it would be astonishing if the 24-year-old did not clinch his second successive title well before the end of the season.

All the drivers below seventh-placed compatriot Nico Rosberg, who has 48 points to Vettel's 234, in the standings are now mathematically out of contention.

Increased competition from McLaren and Ferrari is one reason for the recent 'blip' and Vettel is being as hard on his team as on himself to try to find some answers and make sure the end of the season does not turn into a nervous nail-biter.

"At the start of the race I was struggling a little bit on the intermediates," he said. "Ferrari and McLaren in the last two races have made a step forward, we need to see why. There are things we can improve without looking at the others."

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