Last weekend was one of those rare ones where both Formula One and MotoGP races happened. And at Suzuka and Sepang, the respective championships became a practical foregone conclusion.
In Formula One, Sebastian Vettel took a fifth successive victory – the first time such a streak has happened since Schumacher did it twice in 2004 – meaning his only remaining rival needs to win all four remaining races to even have a chance of stealing it away from him.
Meanwhile over in MotoGP, Marc Marquez took an easy second position finish behind his team mate, which gave him a 43 point lead with three races remaining.
If you only watch motorsport for a close and nail-biting championship battle then this probably leaves you disappointed. However, if you wish to see excellence from people mastering their sports then the 2013 championships are still absorbing stuff.
It has long been the nature of motorsport that some years provide closer championships than others. If you still feel like tuning out of either or even both of the championships, think again because there are many reasons to stick around.
The Japanese grand prix saw Romain Grosjean exorcise himself from the horrors of his previous season with a stunning drive to third place. While last year he ambled straight into Mark Webber at the first turn, this time round he led Webber for the duration of the first stint and was by far and away the best non-Red Bull performer, with Fernando Alonso a 36 seconds further back.
Over in Malaysia, Dani Pedrosa put his long win drought to an end and triumphed over Marquez. Even if Marc was taking it slightly easy with a championship in mind, it was still a great win for Pedrosa, who had looked demoralised in the face of his rookie sensation team mate for much of the season.
One fully reliable gauge of measuring excellence is when someone makes it seem a predictability. Marc Marquez finishing second is a disappointment to some. Many put Vettel’s Japanese victory down to his machine, his RB9 and team preference. They say Red Bull sabotaged Webber to hand their favoured son victory with the hope of sealing another title.
However these conspiracy theorists forget the many obvious flaws in their theory. Such as Christian Horner’s televised quote about liking to see Webber take a win before his career ends. Such as the fact Red Bull weren’t sure which strategy was best even as the race began. Or the fact Webber was unable to look after his tyres as well as Vettel during the first stint, which led to worse tyre degradation. They forget Webber’s lap times on his last set of fresh rubber put him on course to race Vettel in the last few laps until Vettel overtook Grosjean as soon as he was able to, while Webber didn’t and hence couldn’t catch his team mate.
It’s true that the Red Bull RB9 is the best racing car in the world. What isn’t true though, is that Sebastian Vettel doesn’t deserve his forthcoming fourth world championship. As glib as it may be to write, he is one of the greats.