Valencia: Sebastian Vettel was crowned Formula One's world champion on Monday as his outclassed rivals conceded he has an unassailable 77-points lead in this year's title race.

The 26-year-old German, who has reeled off an unparalleled run of six wins and two second places in the opening eight races this year, crushed his challengers' spirits with a flawless triumph for Red Bull in Sunday's European Grand Prix.

Afterwards, as the champagne flowed and he promised it was too early to do anything other than take each race at a time, his competitors could do little but shake their heads in impotent dismay.

Both two-times champion Fernando Alonso and 2008 title-winner Lewis Hamilton agreed that, on current form, Vettel was unbeatable - and that he had this year's championship ready to wrap.

"It's finished - in the sense of the title, it's almost over," said 26-year-old Briton Hamilton of McLaren, who finished a distant fourth in Sunday's showdown in the heat on Valencia's Mediterranean street circuit.

"And I am not looking forward to another beating at Silverstone in my home race at the British Grand Prix."

That event is next up on July 10 and Spanish local hero Alonso, of Ferrari, admits he, too, is anticipating another defeat when he travels to England and that he has, already, erased any dreams of the championship from his thoughts.

"The title is not in our calculations," he said. "If anyone thinks we can win the championship, being eight-tenths of a second behind Red Bull each lap, they don't understand Formula One. For us, I think, that is over." Hamilton, who struggled for pace in Sunday's contest, is now 89 points adrift of Vettel.

He added: "I'm not looking forward to the race because when you go to Silverstone, the desire to win is even greater because it's my home country.

"But the truth is that we're just not quick enough to win there. I think we'll really struggle..."

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button, the 2009 champion, confirmed that he also struggled for pace in his car during Sunday's race and called on the team to take risks in developing new parts to improve the aerodynamic performance of their car.

"We have to do something, we have to take a few risks or we are going to finish nowhere," he said.

Vettel now leads both his own Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber and Button, who are joint second, by 77 points with Hamilton 12 more adrift in fourth place and Alonso 99 points behind in fifth.

That means that Alonso needs four wins without Vettel scoring a point if he is to overhaul him during the remaining 11 races this year. For Webber and Hamilton, the read-out target is three.

Vettel, however, continued to protest that there is a long way to go and "anything can happen" before the finale in Brazil on November 27.

"Of course, our target is to be in the lead and make sure we stay there, but the most important race to lead the championship is after the last one," he said.

Given that Red Bull possess, in technical chief Adrian Newey, the most gifted and successful aerodynamicist in F1 history, it is not likely that they will allow their rivals much hope as the calendar now delivers the European heart of the season on high-speed race circuits.

These, at Silverstone, Nurburgring, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza are expected to be ideal venues for the Red Bull car, a machine that thrives on high-speed corners.

Hamilton fears, already, that his McLaren team doesn’t have a car fast enough to mount a challenge.

"We've taken a step back this weekend - or maybe the others have gone forward," said Hamilton. "I think we're quite a bit down in down-force.

"We haven't made an upgrade on that for several weeks - especially rear down-force - and I think that in the next race we may really struggle again.

"So, I'm really not looking forward to Silverstone.

Ferrari are a lot faster than us and the Red Bulls are on another planet."

Button added: "There's a big gap behind us to the Mercedes and a big gap in front of us in terms of Ferrari and Red Bull."

Alonso, hinting at the conclusion most paddock observers have kept to themselves so far this year, admitted that he felt Ferrari were now only racing against McLaren.

Red Bull, having demonstrated their superiority from the start, know that they won the championship before it started thanks to the remarkable efficiency and speed of Adrian Newey's design work.

(Agencies)