(CNN) -- Spain's Fernando Alonso led from start to finish to win a grueling Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday to boost his hopes of a third world title.
In a masterful display of composure and driving skill, the Ferrari ace held off a charging Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull to take his 25th grand prix win and fourth of the season.
Vettel's teammate and championship leader Mark Webber finished third after surviving a collision with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, which saw the Briton fail to finish for the second straight race.
Webber heads the standings with 202 points ahead of the rapidly-improving Alonso on 191 and Hamilton on 182.
Vettel is a point further adrift with reigning champion Jenson Button, who finished fourth in Singapore, on 177.
Alonso tried to play down his burgeoning title bid despite back to back wins.
"The championship remains very tight with five contenders," he told his post-race press conference.
"Obviously Mark has a margin, but we will do our best. I don't know if it will be enough, but I will give 100 percent," he said.
Alonso started from pole position and took charge from the first corner, shrugging off the introduction of two safety cars after incidents on the tight Marina Bay street circuit.
Vettel's main chance came when the leaders pitted at the same time for a tire change, but Alonso stayed ahead.
The safety car came out for the second time when Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi and Hispania's Bruno Senna hit the wall to end their races.
On the restart, 2008 champion Hamilton attempted to pass title rival Webber on the outside, but could not pull a car length ahead and was clipped by the Australian's car on the corner.
Hamilton was forced to retire and threw his steering wheel to the ground in anger as he got out of his McLaren.
The race stewards ruled it was a "racing incident" and took no action against Webber, but for Hamilton it may prove a dagger in the heart to his title hopes with only four races left.
Away from the championship race, Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes finished fifth, with Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello sixth for Williams.
Robert Kubica finished seventh for Renault with Ferrari's Felipe Massa promoted to eighth after the race, having crossed the line 10th.
Williams' Nico Hulkenberg had earlier been elevated to eighth after Adrian Sutil's Force India received a post-race 20-second penalty.
Hulkenberg was himself then hit with a 20-second penalty, pushing him down to 10th behind Sutil and Massa.
The action resumes again in Japan next month before moving to South Korea, then to Brazil and Abu Dhabi for the final race of an exciting season.