Sebastian Vettel celebrates with Red Bull teammate Mark Webber after their 1-2 in the Korean Grand Prix.
(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel took over the championship lead after another commanding drive to win the Korean Grand Prix Sunday.
It completed a hat-trick of victories for the German, who has taken a six-point advantage over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with four rounds remaining.
Vettel's teammate Mark Webber finished second to complete the first one-two of the season for Red Bull, with Alonso in third.
Two-time champion Alonso came under pressure from his teammate Felipe Massa in the closing stages at Yeongam, but the Brazilian had to settle for fourth place.
Vettel, who is bidding for a third straight F1 world title, made a superb start to overtake pole sitter Webber going into the first corner.
Aside from some late concerns over tire wear, Vettel was largely untroubled as he built on victories in Singapore and Japan to wrest the title lead from Alonso.
Red Bull had been expected to come under some pressure from McLaren, but Britain's Lewis Hamilton, who started from third, had problems with handling and finished a disappointing 10th for a single point.
His teammate Jenson Button was the victim of a first lap incident with Japan's Kamui Kobayashi in his Sauber.
Kimi Raikkonen of Finland finished fifth in his Lotus to remain in a distant third in the title race.
Vettel was left to reflect on the crucial start of the race which laid the platform for his triumph.
"I wasn't sure because I was starting on the dirty side, but I had a good launch and managed to get past Mark," he told the official post-race press conference.
"I'm looking forward to the next couple of races. A lot can happen, but we need to focus on ourselves and go from there."
Alonso, who has seen Vettel overhaul his massive title lead, was aware his team had limited the damage with a solid display.
"We have to be happy with the performance today. We finished third and fourth behind the Red Bulls, who are difficult to beat.
"It was a good day for team, for me and for Felipe, and we overtook McLaren in constructors' championship so we are definitely moving in the right direction. We just need that last step to be as competitive as Red Bull," said the Spaniard.
Nico Hulkenberg in his Force India, Romain Grosjean (Lotus) and the Toro Rosso pair of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo occupied the points scoring positions ahead of Hamilton, who accepted his title challenge was over after the race.
Voters in Venezuela are set to go to the polls in what is predicted to be the country's most tightly contested presidential election in a decade.
Left-wing incumbent Hugo Chavez, first elected in 1998, is being challenged by opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
Mr Chavez wants to continue what he calls his socialist revolution while Mr Capriles has promised to restore economic growth.
Almost 19 million Venezuelans are eligible to vote in the election.
Mr Chavez - who is seeking a fourth term in office - was diagnosed with cancer last year but says he has now fully recovered.
A colourful and often controversial figure on the international stage, President Chavez, 58, has nationalised key sectors of the economy.
Venezuela is a major oil producer and high oil prices over the past decade have allowed his government to fund health-care, education programmes and social housing.
He says he needs another term to complete his "Bolivarian Revolution" towards socialism.
However, Mr Capriles, 40, and the opposition say the president's policies have led to bureaucracy, inefficiency, and shortages.
They also accuse Mr Chavez of authoritarianism and of suppressing the judiciary and silencing critics in the media.
Mr Capriles says a lack of investment in Venezuela's crucial oil industry has led to a decline in production.
Both candidates held huge final rallies on Thursday - the last day of campaigning.
The two candidates have also used social media to encourage voters to cast their ballots.
"Good morning to all, one day left to open the door to the future!" Mr Capriles wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday.
"Comrades across the world: Be assured that Bolivar's people will continue to work to make another world possible, that is, a socialist one!" President Chavez tweeted.
Almost 140,000 soldiers will be deployed to guard more than 10,000 voting centres.
A week before the election, three opposition activists were killed during a campaign rally, and four people were injured in a shooting during a voting rehearsal in September.
From Saturday evening to Monday evening, the sale of alcohol is banned and only the security forces will be allowed to carry arms.
National Electoral Council official Socorro Hernandez said that everything would be "100% ready for polling day".
She called on all parties and non-governmental groups to contribute to a peaceful election "and avoid any distortions".
While polls are scheduled to close at 18:00 local time (22:30 GMT), National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena said that the hours could be extended if voters were still queuing to cast their ballots.
"El Clasico" also brings together the best two players on the planet. Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, right, has started the season in fine form and scored a hat-trick in Wednesday's European Champions League defeat of Ajax. But it is Barca's Lionel Messi who is reverred by many as the finest player in the world. The Argentine has won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in each of the last three seasons.
(CNN) -- After 17 minutes and 14 seconds of Sunday's "El Clasico" encounter with Real Madrid, Barcelona fans will offer a vocal demonstration of why the club's motto is "mes que un club" -- more than a club.
The team's Nou Camp stadium will erupt with the sound of the Catalan national anthem, sung in the language native to this semi-autonomous region of Spain.
It is to commemorate September 11, 1714, and the people who died when the ruling monarchy defeated Catalan troops during the War of the Spanish Succession.
It is arguably the biggest club game in the world -- though all too often surrounded by a bucketload of bile between players, coaches and fans -- but as austerity tightens its grip on the Spanish economy, the desire for Catalan independence grows ever deeper.
The fixture against Real, a club so long synonymous with Spain's rulers and its royalty, provides a poignant opportunity for the Catalonian cause to be expressed directly to the Madrid powers.
"For every Euro Catalonia gives to Spain, it only receives 57 cents," Catalan sports commentator Ernest Macia told CNN. "There is a feeling of injustice regarding the fiscal system."
"Also there are the constant political attacks in terms of linguistic policy. For Catalonia the language is very important. Catalan is different from Spanish language, not better or worse, just different.
"The Spanish government is trying to erode the educational system where in Catalonia you study in Catalan but also Spanish ... the government is trying to regain the power in the education system."
So on Sunday in a demonstration of national pride, 98,000 placards will turn the Nou Camp into a giant Catalan flag emblazoned with the word "Barca!" prior to kick off.
"It symbolizes the Catalan sentiment," continued Macia. "It's the color of the Catalan flag. People come to enjoy the football, yes, but also to make clear it is a time to be Catalan."
The Catalan nationalism cause has a powerful supporter in the shape of iconic former Barca coach Josep Guardiola, who led the team to 14 trophies during a glittering four seasons in charge.
Speaking from New York, where he is currently living, Guardiola delivered a video message of support to his native region on Catalonia's national day, saying: "Here's one more vote for independence."
Despite the views of one of its favorite sons, the football club is less forthright in extolling the virtues of independence, reflecting that not all Barca fans are against a unified Spain.
However, Macia suggests the success of Barcelona's football team and the views of some of the region's other top sport stars has helped promote the idea of self governance.
"I would say there is an increasing union around Barcelona of people who didn't necessarily care about the independence of Catalonia but now understand the reasons through football and the club's other sports teams," added Macia.
"Sarunas Jasikevicius, a Lithuanian basketball player for Barcelona, said he is open to independence.
"In football, the team is less explicit. Xavi and Carles Puyol, for example are proud to be Catalan but they haven't said openly they would play for Catalonia instead of Spain."
Catalonia even has its own national football team, though it is not allowed to participate in World Cups or European Championships.
The team, which has been playing fixtures since 1912, are permitted to play matches but are barred from participating in competitions which Spain also contests.
Over the years, Catalonia's best players such as Xavi, Guardiola and Puyol have pulled on the red and gold shirt alongside "guest" stars such as Johan Cruyff and Hristo Stoichkov.
But it is Barca, with its core of local players, which has come to represent Catalan footballing honor and so fixtures with Real have a tendency to become ill-tempered.
Red cards and the red mist have become the norm.
In August 2011 Real coach Jose Mourinho poked Tito Vilanova -- Guardiola's then assistant who has gone on to replace him in the hotseat -- in the eye during a touchline fracas.
In 2000 Luis Figo was the subject of Barca fans' ire after moving to Real, and when he returned to the Nou Camp as one of Madrid's fabled "Galacticos", the Portuguese forward was pelted with objects including cigarette lighters, cell phones and a pig's head.
However, rather than breed contempt, familiarity seems to have begun to blunt this rivalry.
Last season the teams played each other on six occasions, after five meetings during the 2010-11 campaign.
"There have been an awful lot of Clasicos over the last few years, which really has diluted things quite a bit," said Madrid-based Spanish football expert Tim Stannard.
"It's not like it was even 12 months ago, when you had Mourinho and Guardiola really kicking off at each other.
"We had the two SuperCup Clasicos recently and nothing happened then. We actually had two calm and quite exciting games."
And just as in the rest of Spain, the people of Madrid have worries which are more pressing than whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi is the world's best footballer as unemployment climbed to nearly 25 percent last month.
Recent protests against anti-austerity measures taken by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government led to violent confrontations between civilians and police on the streets of the capital.
"What we saw was a situation gone bad," continued Stannard. "Some protestors were infiltrated by those looking for a riot. Almost all the time demonstrations here go very peacefully, that's why it made the news.
"There haven't really been any instances since. People are just suffering at the minute."
With Real currently trailing table-toppers Barca by eight points heading into the first league Clasico of the season, the Madrid club's fans haven't had much to cheer either.
Despite that start which has seen Mourinho team drop eight points in its first six matches, Stannard suggests this weekend's match offers Real fans brief respite from a dark financial climate.
"It's a distraction from the grim reality of life for many in Spain at the moment," he said.
"It gives them something to smile about. This Clasico is not a massively hyped one. In recent years we have had Champions League semifinals and all this bitterness built up between the two teams. A lot of that has been taken out of it."
And what do Madrilenos make of calls for Catalan independence? "It's hard to speak for everyone here, Madrid is very diverse," responded Stannard. "A lot of people simply don't care."
Back in Barcelona, Macia suggested Spain's financial woes might have given the campaign for Catalan secession extra impetus.
"The feeling is that it has probably helped to create new converts to the independence movement," he said. "In Germany, the richer states give 4% to the GDP, to the central government.
"In Catalonia, it is 8% and everyone in Catalonia is becoming more conscious of the problem."
Macia remains hopeful he will see a day when Catalonia has true independence from Spain.
"It will be very slow," he said. "It will take some time and some verbal violence. I'm not happy to live in this moment, because from Spain come some insults from Catalonia.
"I think both parties will reach an agreement. I'm not sure if it will be to celebrate a democratic referendum. It will probably take at least another year."
(CNN) -- Juventus coach Antonio Conte will be free to take his place on the bench for the Serie A champions in December after a 10-month ban for his involvement in a match fixing scandal was cut to four months Friday.
A statement by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) confirmed that the 43-year-old can return on December 9.
Conte had taken his appeal to CONI after being handed his original ban by the Italian Football Federation.
The disciplinary action related to his time in charge of Siena in the 2010-11 season.
He was accused of not passing on knowledge of match fixing in games they played while in Serie B.
Conte's assistant at Siena and Juventus, Angelo Alessio, has had his ban for his role in the affair reduced from eight months to six.
The punishments were handed out as part of the 'Calcioscommesse' scandal, which has seen more than 20 Italian teams under the spotlight.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli welcomed the decision on the club's official website.
"I maintain my view, which is shared by everyone at Juventus, that Antonio Conte is an innocent man and in no way guilty of the charges leveled at him," said Agnelli.
Conte's case was heard by the National Court of Arbitration for Sport (TNAS) and while reducing his ban, did not fully exonerate him of the charges against him.
Agnelli is angry that Conte was not cleared and added: "The confirmation of his suspension is an injustice which should prompt the entire footballing system to ask itself questions," he added.
Conte, who took Juve to the title in his first season in charge, will have missed 15 Serie A matches and the entire Champions League group stage before his ban ends.
But in his absence, Juventus have continued their fine form, topping the Italian standings on the same points as Napoli.
Bate Borisov players celebrate on their way to a 3-1 win over Bayern Munich in their Champions League group match.
(CNN) -- BATE Borisov stunned German giants Bayern Munich 3-1 Tuesday to continue their superb start to the Champions League group stages.
The Belarusians won their opener against Lille and followed that up with a famous victory in their own stadium in Minsk.
It was the first defeat after nine straight wins in all competitions for German league leaders Bayern and they were always on the back foot once Aleksandr Pavlov put the home side ahead after 23 minutes.
Vitali Rodionov doubled the lead with 12 minutes remaining before Franck Ribery first struck the post then grabbed a 90th minute lifeline for the visitors.
Brazilian Renan Bressan sealed a famous victory for BATE with a clinching third on the counter attack in the fifth minute of injury time.
"This is a sensational result for us, we will celebrate a bit but we need to keep working hard," BATE's ex-Arsenal star Aleksandr Hleb told AFP.
"Bayern are still favorites in our group, we are taking it one match at a time.
In the other match in Group F, Valencia condemned Lille to their second straight defeat with a 2-0 win at the Mestella in Spain.
Goals from Jonas in either half clinched the vital win for Valencia.
An upset also looked possible when Manchester United trailed to minnows CFR Cluj in Romania through an early strike from Pantelis Kapetanos.
But a pair of goals from Robin van Persie, both time assisted by Wayne Rooney, secured victory for Alex Ferguson's men.
They top Group H with two wins, while FC Braga beat Galatasaray 2-0 in the other match played.
Reigning champions Chelsea secured their first victory in Group E, beating Danish minnows FC Nordsjaelland 4-0 in Copenhagen.
A Juan Mata goal just before half time was all that separated the two sides for much of the encounter and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech made a superb save to touch a Joshua John shot on to the post after the break.
But David Luiz rifled home a second from a free kick, Mata scored his second, and Ramires with the fourth put a gloss on the scoreline.
Juventus, who held Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their opener, had to come from behind to salvage a point against Shakhtar Donetsk in a 1-1 draw in Turin.
Willian fed fellow Brazilian Alex Texeira to fire the Ukrainians ahead after 23 minutes.
But Serie A champions Juventus preserved their 45-match unbeaten run when Leonardo Bonucci scored from Andrea Pirlo's corner just a minute later.
Barcelona won the heavyweight clash in Benfica 2-0 to maintain their 100 per cent start to Group G.
Alexis Sanchez put Barca ahead after only six minutes and midfielder Cesc Fabregas sealed three points in the Stadium of Light after the break.
Their night was partially spoilt with two minutes to go when Sergio Busquets was shown red after a clash with Maxi Pereira.
Scottish champions Celtic are giving chase on four points after a 3-2 away win over Spartak Moscow.
Celtic went into the match in the Russian capital with a record of 11 straight losses on the road in the Champions League and 21 games without a win away from home.
But an early goal from Gary Hooper gave Neil Lennon's men great encouragement.
Spartak hit back to lead 2-1 after an Emmanuel Emmenike double, but home defender Juan Insaurralde was sent off just after the hour mark for pulling back Hooper.
Celtic leveled when substitute James Forrest's shot found its way home via a rebound from defender Dmitri Kombarov.
Giorgos Samaras headed a dramatic and deserved late winner for Celtic.