Sebastian Vettel remains the overwhelming favourite to become 2012 champion, despite Red Bull’s qualifying crisis and the loss of 3 points to Fernando Alonso in Abu Dhabi.
That is the view of F1 legend Niki Lauda, who was asked by Osterreich newspaper if he has changed his mind after Red Bull bungled qualifying last weekend, forcing Vettel to fight up to the podium from a pitlane start. With just two races to go now, Vettel is 10 points ahead of Ferrari’s Alonso.
“Nothing has changed,” Lauda insisted. “I believe Red Bull will have learned from its errors and now have everything technically perfect in the last two races. Then it will be up to Vettel, and he has the fastest car.”
Spaniard Alonso, however, remains determined and feisty, continuing to espouse samurai quotations and push Ferrari to improve the F2012.
“That’s what he’s paid for,” Lauda said, “but he can only carry on as before. “Although he does everything right, it’s not enough, because Ferrari cannot compete with Red Bull.”
Lauda, however, said he is not expecting Vettel to wrap it up in Texas next weekend, but that F1 will get its “super finish” to the championship in Brazil.
David Coulthard, the former McLaren and Red Bull driver, warned Vettel to be wary of the wily Alonso.
“Fernando is a teak-tough competitor and I have a feeling these last two races could get a bit dirty,” he wrote in the Telegraph. “Fernando wants to go to war, wants this to become a battle of wits as much as machines. He is trying to unsettle Seb, while at the same time exuding confidence and serenity. My money is on Seb, but only just.”