Sebastian Vettel remained wary of his closest rival Fernando Alonso Saturday even after he strengthened his grip on the championship with pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel was inspired around the 23-corner Marina Bay street circuit, while Ferrari's Alonso could only wind up seventh, putting him on the fourth row of the grid for Sunday's race.
But Vettel, bidding to extend his 53-point advantage with seven races to go, refused to count out the dogged Alonso who has won two world titles and twice took the German to the last day of the season.
"I think the Ferrari was struggling the last couple of events in qualifying but they have very, very good race pace," Vettel said.
"I think the last couple of races Fernando has finished on the podium, and I'm sure they will come back."
Vettel holds all the aces in Singapore, after winning the last two editions of Formula One's only night race along with three of the last four grands prix this season.
He remains capable of wrapping up the championship as early as next month, and joining legends Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as only the third man to win four world titles in a row.
But despite his current dominance, the 26-year-old German refused to get ahead of himself before Sunday's race.
"Obviously it's no harm for us today... but I'm confident Fernando will do everything he can tomorrow to fight back."