When Sebastian Vettel arrived in Suzuka, his second F1 crown was the merest of formalities.
The only way it could elude him was if Jenson Button won the last five races of the season and Vettel finished 11th or later in all five.
Button duly did his part by winning the Japanese GP. But Vettel, who tarried until the final race of the season to win his maiden crown in 2010, had clearly run out of patience.
A third place finish consigned the rest of the season to academic interest.
Few punters will bet against Vettel eventually becoming numero uno in history since he's only 71 wins and five titles behind Michael Schumacher.
Image: Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates after finishing third in the Japanese Grand Prix to clinch the Formula One drivers championship, at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011.