Sebastian Vettel Sunday warned there was a long way to go in the Formula One championship despite his "dream" victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.
The 25-year-old defending world champion dominated in his Red Bull to win ahead of Felipe Massa of Ferrari and Japan's Kamui Kobayashi, and close the gap on Fernando Alonso to just four points.
But he said: "I am very careful. I think we had a long journey so far. It has been a tough year and there are still many races to go. Today I don't want to talk about the championship."
Vettel romped to his second straight title last year but he has suffered reliability problems this season before hitting form with his back-to-back wins in Singapore and Japan.
And his position in the title race owes much to Alonso's first-lap retirement after a nudge from Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was also right in the championship until retiring from the lead two weeks ago in Singapore.
"Obviously it was an important step today but there's still a long way to go," Vettel said. "If you look at the last couple of races, after Spa (Belgium) it was very much up and down," Vettel said.
"I don't know what happened today, but at Spa, Fernando was unlucky. You don't hope those things will happen to yourself, but you know over the next few races it could happen. It is long season and crazy racing so far."
Vettel, who scored his third win of the season, added that the weekend had been like a dream for him.
"I don't think it could be better," he added. "You come across these kinds of races very rarely.
"I had a very good race car, behaving very well, and it's very difficult to describe why because we didn't have major upgrades for this race. It's just that the car suited the track.
"It was a fantastic race and when you have a dream about how a race should be, that is exactly what you wish for. All in all it was fantastic."