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Time running out for Alonso

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Andrew Benson | 16:39 UK time, Sunday, 28 October 2012

As Sebastian Vettel headed down the pit lane after winning the Indian Grand Prix, team-mate Mark Webber's Red Bull behind gave him a couple of little nudges as they headed to their correct parking places.

"I switched off the car," Vettel said. "I was told to park the car under the podium and I couldn't remember where it was from last year and Mark gave me a little bit of a push."

He added that he thought it was his "only mistake" of the day, which sounds about right.

The victory was his fourth in a row, a new achievement for the German despite his domination on the way to the world championship last year, and he has now led every racing lap since Lewis Hamilton's McLaren retired from the lead of the Singapore Grand Prix four races ago.

It also moves Vettel to one win short of the tally of Sir Jackie Stewart. At this rate, Vettel will not only pass the Scot's number of victories before the end of the year but join him as a three-time world champion as well.

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Vettel is still only 13 points ahead of his only remaining realistic rival, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, which is less than a driver earns for a third place, but it is the scale of Red Bull's current superiority that has led many to suspect the battle is already effectively over.

Vettel was fastest in every practice session in India and took yet another pole position. After the German's crushing wins in Japan and Korea, the only surprise at the Buddh International Circuit was that Red Bull's margin over the rest of the field was smaller than expected in qualifying.

In the race, though, Vettel was completely untouchable.

In the first 20 laps, he was not that much faster than team-mate Mark Webber in second place, and the Australian was being pretty much matched by Alonso.

But then Vettel cut loose, suddenly lapping 0.5 seconds faster than before. Team boss Christian Horner admitted that, not sure about tyre wear, Vettel had simply been measuring his pace in the opening third of the race.

Ferrari and McLaren both appeared to be in better shape after the single pit stops, more comfortable on the 'hard' tyre than the 'soft', but even then it was clear Vettel was in total control.

For the dispassionate observer wanting to see close racing, Red Bull's current form may be depressing, but it is hard not to admire what they have achieved this season.

For the first time in two years, they started the championship without a dominant car, and although they had strong race pace they were struggling to qualify at the front - the position from which they used to crush their opposition in 2011.

But they have worked away diligently at a series of upgrades aimed at allowing them to run the car as they did last year, and the breakthrough came in Singapore.

Further modifications came on stream in Japan and Korea and now Red Bull have a car that on pure pace is out of reach of their rivals.

It is the qualifying pace that is the key - start at the front and you can run in clear air, dictate the pace of the race, and are not affected by the turbulence of other cars. In this position, Vettel is close to unbeatable.

The start of the season, when there were seven different winners in seven races, seems a very long time ago.

Red Bull are a brilliant team, managed without compromise by Christian Horner and led by a genius designer in Adrian Newey, working in perfect harmony with a great driver. In many ways, it is similar to the way Lotus boss Colin Chapman and Jim Clark dominated the mid-1960s.

How they have done it, BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson has expanded on in his column. For now, the problem for their rivals is what to do about it.

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Alonso was as impressive in India as he has been all season, aggressive and inch perfect in the opening laps as he fought past both McLaren drivers, and relentless in his pursuit of Webber for second place.

The fact that the Spaniard passed the Australian was down to a degree of luck, it has to be said. Webber's Kers power-boost system was working only intermittently, and crucially he got held up behind some backmarkers, allowing Alonso to close to within one second - which meant he was within the margin that allows use of the DRS overtaking aid.

Once there, it took only two laps for Alonso to pass Webber, who without Kers, was defenceless on the long straight against a Ferrari with better straight-line speed anyway, and also employing Kers and DRS.

Nevertheless, to even keep the Red Bulls honest was quite an achievement by Alonso - no-one else was even close.

If there is such a thing as a driver 'deserving' the world title more than another, most people in F1 would say Alonso has been the stand-out competitor of the year.

As Lewis Hamilton put it in India: "Fernando unfortunately doesn't have as quick a car as Sebastian; it's nothing to do with his driving skills, that's for sure."

F1, though, is not purely a drivers' championship - he has to have a car, and at the moment Alonso is fighting an unequal battle with inferior equipment.

And in any case, Alonso himself would undoubtedly say that the driver who ends the season with the most points is the deserving champion.

Red Bull are now virtually certain to clinch a third consecutive constructors' title - indeed they seem likely to do so in Abu Dhabi next weekend.

For all Vettel's recent domination, though, in purely mathematical terms the drivers' championship remains wide open.

Thirteen points sounds a decent amount but the margin between Vettel and Alonso is, in F1's old scoring system abandoned only at the end of 2009, the equivalent of less than four points.

One retirement by Vettel, or a marginal improvement in the performance of Ferrari in the final three races, could tip the balance back in Alonso's favour. Time, though, is running out.

Alonso said on Sunday that the team did have improvements due in the next three races, and there was a hint in some of the other things he said over the weekend that the team expect them to amount to something more substantial than Ferrari have introduced for a while.

McLaren sporting director Sam Michael said on Sunday evening: "The performance can swing from one track to the other by a couple of tenths, and that's all there is in it at the moment - 0.2-0.3secs in terms of qualifying.

"And if you can have that performance, from the front row you have a better chance. So even if no-one upgraded their cars there would still be a reasonable chance that people could have a go at them.

"If Ferrari have a competitive car, then obviously Alonso can still do it."

In the context of the overpowering brilliance of Red Bull, though, that is a big if.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Analysing the last races, and trying to predict the near future is always a matter of "if's", until the chances are zero. Alonso just needs a car at least 0.2secs slower than Sebastian's one, and he will beat him. On the basis of that it is stupid (or not logical) to put his chances down.
    F1 is a bit more complex than people tend to think.
    When 2012 WC started, everyone authomatically said Ferrari where not in for this year. This is just the same, again happening.

  • Comment number 2.

    A pretty boring race, listened to the radio commentary and you could tell how bored James Allen was. Did not pay much attention to the coverage, but F1 continues to be ruined by one team dominating.

  • Comment number 3.

    One of the benefits of the Sky F1 / BBC deal is the highlights programme: makes dull races like this one - save for the opening and closing lap - just about bearable.

  • Comment number 4.

    It is all to play for, nothing in it. Red Bull has the momentum, based on the last 3 races, but it´s the next 3 which decide. It will be great if this goes to the wire.

  • Comment number 5.

    If the next three races are dry (2/3 guaranteed) and Vettel's car doesn't play up he will be World Champion. Before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of 2010, who would of believed Vettel would be a Triple world Champion before Alonso?

  • Comment number 6.

    Vettel wins the race on Saturday by winning the pole. He is mistake free and that is a very important quality in this sport. But what other qualities he has? I would like to see them. He doesn´t need to show anything else. It´s the car the one doing all the work for him. With this car Red Bull don´t need drivers. They can ask Newey to design an automatic pilot like in an aircraft

  • Comment number 7.

    U feel sorry for Alonso because even he can't do anything to catch Vettel and Red Bull at circuits where the two of them out together are a dominant force. I can't see Abu Dhabi being too different, unless Vettel gets a puncture like last year but I really do hope it goes to the last race in Brazil for this has been a fascinating season of Formula One.

  • Comment number 8.

    Andrew am impressed...No mention of Hamilton at all well done.

  • Comment number 9.

    A deserved win for a great driver and a great team. Vettel is class - simple as that. Hopefully he will wrap it up soon because he deserves it more than anyone else.

    Why would anyone feel sorry for Alonso? Fernando Alonso benefits more from other drivers accidents/failures than any driver I have ever seen. That's not always down to world-class driving - more often than not it is down to luck. He also has a very cooperative team-mate who's job is to not challenge Alonso, but instead hold up other potential challengers. Many people held Massa in high regard until 3 years ago - disgrace.

    Ferrari's car is nowhere near as bad as everyone makes out - Alonso had an extremely high top-speed today, and gained a huge benefit as a result.
    I wish that next season Massa will get a fair crack at Alonso. Titles need to be won, and they are supposed to be an individual effort.

  • Comment number 10.

    "And in any case, Alonso himself would undoubtedly say that the driver who ends the season with the most points is the deserving champion." What a ridiculous comment. Vettel has shown himself to be a good front runner and a second-rate driver in an inferior car. If Alonso had been driving the Red Bull, the championship would have been over weeks ago.

  • Comment number 11.

    I fully agree with redsloz..
    Alonso has played a boring game of lowering expectations and complaining about his car .. Have we forgotten that his team had to order Massa to fall back because he is too close to their super hero!! Massa??!!
    I think it was too obvious that the car is not that bad but rather he is not that good.
    I think Massa can put FA in his right place if he is allowed to.

  • Comment number 12.

    TPJ - #10. That is utter rubbish. That is a tiresome old debate now. Alonso wins when A) He has a better car than the rest or B) When fortune conspires against his rivals and he is able to pick up the pieces. This nonsense of 'What would Alonso or Hamilton do?' is pathetic.
    For the last 4 races, each time the Red Bull being the fastest car, Vettel has won - can't do much more than that - so your argument about it being over weeks ago is rubbish.

  • Comment number 13.

    And everyone knows that Webber is far superior to Massa, of course, and that he didn't give way at the first corner today.

  • Comment number 14.

    @9...

    'Why would anyone feel sorry for Alonso? Fernando Alonso benefits more from other drivers accidents/failures than any driver I have ever seen.' Well feel sorry no but surely that only demonstrates how reliable his cars are and how he preserves them. Being 2nd alone shows the race pace he contains and how he is always ready to pounce on any mistake.

  • Comment number 15.

    >"Further modifications came on stream in Japan and Korea and now Red Bull have a car that on pure pace is out of reach of their rivals."


    Well, no. The car driven by Vettel seems to out of reach of their rivals. The car driven by Webber seemed to have pace very similar to that of Alonso's Ferrari, even before Webber's KERS problems.

    This has been the case for the past few seasons - the "Red Bull dominance" has been in effect Sebastian Vettels dominance.

    Let's suppose that in 2009 Red Bull don't sign Vettel: they sign some other young driver - Rosberg or Kobayashi, perhaps.

    Then Alonso wins the 2010 WDC, Button wins the 2011 WDC, Alonso is currently a lock to win his fourth WDC in 2012, and nobody in October 2012 is warbling on about how wonderful Adrian Newey is

  • Comment number 16.

    #14 - Well that is fairly looking at it from the other side. But the numeracy of occasions in which it has occured indicates a fair degree of luck on the part of Alonso

  • Comment number 17.

    >"It´s the car the one doing all the work for him. With this car Red Bull don´t need drivers"


    There are some embarrassingly ignorant people here.

  • Comment number 18.

    There's no denying that Vettel is one of the best drivers on the grid, but I would like to see him win several races and a championship in a car not designed by Newey before I rate him as THE best. He can race and overtake in my opinion, but more often than not he does have the best machinery available to him. At the moment, Vettel's current and likely championship streak is reminiscent of the claimed advantages Schumacher had for his Ferrari championships, except he only has a design genius (Schumacher obviously had this, but apparently by far the best engine and personal tyres too). Although Vettel's achievements are very good, I don't rate them as great yet, even if he joins Schumacher and Fangio on three consecutive championships. Currently the best is Alonso because he is driving like a man possessed. No the Ferrari isn't as bad as everyone makes out in race trim, but from my memory, in nearly every race this season, there's been at least one, if not two or three other cars from other teams faster than him on true pace. On most occasions by only a little margin, but a margin nonetheless. So, to be where he his deserves plaudits, and many people's measured opinion will be that he would deserve the championship this year. That matters little however if he doesn't win it.

  • Comment number 19.

    @10 TPJ - I am not a Vettel fan but this argument is seriously getting tiresome. Vettel won a race in a Toro Rosso in 2008 and was pretty outstanding in it over the whole season. There are still one or two question marks about his racecraft in my opinion but he has shown time and time again he is a brilliant driver.

    @15 I completely agree. If it is all just the car and not Vettel making some difference then why has Webber not been second in the championship the last 2 seasons and this year? Why have Red Bull not been finishing 1-2 every race? Yes the Red Bull is a good car, but it is Vettel is making the difference between that good car and a car that wins championships.

  • Comment number 20.

    A strangely subdued performance from both McLaren drivers. I expected Hamilton to challenge for the win, but Alonso left both him and Button trailing in his wake.

    The start of the season, when the McLaren was the quickest car by some distance, seems a very long time ago. And the start of the season means everything up through Monza.

  • Comment number 21.

    Luck?? Not really convinced anybody could have been there to pick up the spoils but then i also have to agree a bit with you there his 2 WDCs have all been won with a stroke of luck Kimi's misfortunes in '05 and Schumi in Japan '06 really favoured Alonso...

  • Comment number 22.

    Never mind the drivers, it's Adrian Newey that Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes should be throwing millions at.

  • Comment number 23.

    >"more often than not he does have the best machinery available to him."


    You could say the same thing, with probably more justice, about Fangio, Senna, Schumacher, Clark, and every other "great" driver.

    So why don't you?

  • Comment number 24.

    @18....Not really this season he has not been the quickest Mclaren (ironically) have been the fastest but credit to him he has been around and scoring good points to ensure that once upgrades have been made available he has always been around to state his claim for a championship.

  • Comment number 25.

    No matter how good a driver is his success is ultimately determined by the team and the equipment. Both Hamilton (team) and Alonso (car) have suffered from one of these two defficiencies. But whilst car and driver cannot be separated there are still two separate championships. The constructors is the most acurate beacuse it emcompasses all three (team, car, driver), but it completely skews the picture when it comes to handing out WDCs and who deserves what. The pub arguments about who was great and who wasn't will rage on for decades and leaves F1 as the most subjective sport ever.

  • Comment number 26.

    23 - but they all proved themselves at some stage in inferior machinery. Apart from one wet win in Monza (and the wet skews everything), Vettel has not really done truly special/great things when he shouldn't be able to, like Alonso and indeed Hamilton have done. All he has done is quite correctly, as you'd expect from a top driver, won with the best machinery, which I doubt many people would be able to do (you only have to look at Webber as an example). I'm not saying Vettel is rubbish, I am saying he is right up there, but for me, to beat Alonso and Hamilton, he has to do something akin to what Alonso has done this year.

  • Comment number 27.

    to think vettels dominant form started when hamiltons mclarens,im and he was 99% sure he would of won in singapore(funny how that bit of luck snowballs into complete domination),gear box packed in and he was looking like he was going to go on a vettel like charge.i hope alonso wins the title,i dislike him as a person but as a driver he is unreal,2nd in that ferrari where massa(in form) was a distant 6th.no other driver would of done that.

    as a hamilton fan,im biased but what will mclaren do next season without him?button isnt fast or adaptable enough in a team that has more than its fair share of its self destruction issues.is he no1 material?

    i was watching the sky coverage on the internet and I've come to the conclusion that itvs coverage was far superior,more facts and a lot less bs.the bbc v sky debate is a non battle,the bbc far better.sky coverage is a more watered down version as to extend it coverage to 1hr 1/2 build up.i genuinely feel sorry for the people who went out of their way to buy the sky coverage,on the promise it was better and for a certain audience,actually value for their money,they've gone exactly the same route the bbc have,younger,less knowledgable and more impressionable audiance.

  • Comment number 28.

    >"but they all proved themselves at some stage in inferior machinery."

    No, they did not.


    >"Vettel has not really done truly special/great things when he shouldn't be able to, like Alonso and indeed Hamilton have done"

    Oh, please. What "great things" has Hamilton done "when he shouldn't be able to"?


    >"to beat Alonso and Hamilton, he has to do something akin to what Alonso has done this year"

    He has to perform decently in a decently fast car?

  • Comment number 29.

    "It is the qualifying pace that is the key - start at the front and you can run in clear air, dictate the pace of the race, and are not affected by the turbulence of other cars. In this position, Vettel is close to unbeatable.""

    Strange that your boyfriend Lewis Hamilton couldnt do this at Melbourne, the first race of the season, Andrew Benson.

    He got creamed by Jenson and finished behind current championship leader Vettel, who started 6th and finished 2nd because Hamilton, in a car that was class of the field, couldnt overtake Vettel for some reason.

    In the 2nd race, with mclaren again class of the field, Vettel started 6th and wouldv finished 4th if it wasnt for Karthikeyan, who got penalised for taking Vettel out.

    In the third race Vettel started 11th, and ran as high as 2nd before his tyres fell off. he finished a credible 5th.

    He won the fourth race and led the standings in what was not the best car of the field.

    THATS why he is now leading the field. In contrast, Hamilton started 3rd, said he could take the fight to the Red Bulls in race trim, and finished 4th, and is now officially out of the Championship fight. Thanks for acknowledging that.

    And show some respect to Vettels driving. The guy earned it, me thinks.

  • Comment number 30.

    #26...Vettel has actually proved himself in an inferior car he finished 4th in a way inferior Torro Rosso in China 2007 appearing as a replacement driver, winning in 2008 and based on only his 2 full seasons Red Bull had every right to sign him for 2009 beating an experienced Mark Webber in each season they have been together in...

  • Comment number 31.

    We seem to be in what may one day be known as "The Tyre Management Era" of Formula One. Drivers have to be cautious about attempting overtakes lest they take too much out of their tyres. In the Korean GP the RB engineers were very concerned that Vettel's rubber might fall apart before the finish line.

    I'd like to see the tyres play less of a role next year.

    Being a top driver means different things in different eras of F1. One of the things making Vettel the top driver at present is that he seems to have a unique ability to drive fast while still preserving his tyres.

  • Comment number 32.

    Benson I know you are a bit of an Alonso fanboy but I have agree with some of what you're saying and take my hat off to him for the way he drove today.

    As I've said before I think he deserves the WDC for being the best driver and Redbull deserve the WCC for building the best car.

    Shock horror, no Hamilton bashing this week???

    Does that have anything to do with the fact that he threw the BBC a bone and actually spoke to them for a change?

  • Comment number 33.

    Lets just say F1 has returned to normal service. Best car wins. Brilliant. ;)

  • Comment number 34.

    @ Boristhegreek

    post 29

    Ahh Borris, we missed you here hehe!!

    still hating on LH i see?
    What does this convo got to do with Hamilton?
    Did u watch the Melbourne, he had an issue a start and the safety car played into Vettell hands, but of cause instead of being fair you rather put down the driver you don't like.
    Again i shall ask, why so much hate for Lewis?
    Why so mad??
    :)

  • Comment number 35.

    Twirlip, you're entitled to your opinion. It's just what I think. Schumacher did in 1996 (the bbc agree - look at his greatest drivers piece), Senna won several races, podiums and poles before he moved to McLaren, and when he got there he faced off against Prost. Just two examples. The majority of Hamilton's 2009 season, in my opinion, was excellent in a not too fast car. And even if you don't like him, to rate Alonso's performance as decent is a bit of a joke.

    30 - I'm talking about regular or several results. One offs here and there are all good and well but most drivers can do that - look at Perez this year at Monza for example. Plus, his result in the 2007 grand prix wasn't particularly special in my opinion. He finished 53 seconds off the lead, benefitted from the retirements of Hamilton and Kubica and his teammate was 6th, showing that the car was pretty decent back then - a lot moreso than it is now anyway.

  • Comment number 36.

    @29. Boristhegreek Oh dear are you still reeling from seeing Jenson getting a good seeing to from Lewis and Alonso then unable to do the same to Grosjean.

    It happened, get over it.

  • Comment number 37.

    Barring a mechanical failure on his Red Bull or a collision in at least one of the remaining races Vettel looking like making it three in a row. The combination of a consistently good driver and a superior car is just too much for the rest to deal with.

    It's a shame the season is petering out somewhat after a fantastic start.

  • Comment number 38.

    After the exciting first lap it was an ordinary GP much like Bensons writings. The suckers latch onto Alonsos drivel and platidudes for Hamilton. The fact is he has every chance of winning this years WDC but the faster driver, Vettel, is still in front of him. It is amusing how the English latch onto Newey in the face of more German superiority.

  • Comment number 39.

    Nothing much, oddz, but I thought it would be nice and appropriate in an article about how Vettel can only win from the front, because that is so easy, to highlight he can also score from behind, and beat the 'most talented driver of his generation' Lewis Hamilton (bensons words) in a lesser car.

  • Comment number 40.

    Alonso drove brilliantly today to finish second and is showing why he is currently the best driver on the grid.

    In some respects this season reminds me of the one in '93. That year Senna was undoubtedly the best driver but a combination of the vastly superior Williams FW15C and the knowhow of Prost won the championship that year.

  • Comment number 41.

    @35...He did finish 35 seconds behind but at the time Ferrari and Mclaren were in a league of their own back then teams were not as close to each other as they are now today and Senna, Schumi and Villenueve are about the only really outstanding drivers i could think of who performed in lesser machinery otherwise he has all the right to perform well in the best car otherwise people would still go on and complain about how much rubbish he is.

  • Comment number 42.

    I was shocked to hear DC making a racist comment that went completely unchallenged.

    Gary messed up and said McLaren changed 3 wheels instead of 4 and DC said that's Irish Mathematics.

    That made my jaw drop.

  • Comment number 43.

    >"Senna won several races, podiums and poles before he moved to McLaren"

    To put it mildly. Driving for Lotus in 1985, Senna took pole in 7 of the 16 races. He did it in 8 of 16 races in 1986. Of course, that's evidence that the Lotus was not exactly "inferior machinery" after all. It was an unreliable car, leading to a lot of DNF's, but it was very fast.

  • Comment number 44.

    I have nothing against Vettel, I'm only disappointed that after such a fascinating start to the season, it's in danger of ending in a bit of a procession, plus that would take us into the realms of 2000-2004 when Schumacher won every year and F1 became a bit of a snore (unless you were a Schumi fan, of course!)

    I also think Alonso has been the best driver this year, but I'd be the first to admit it's rarely other than the best car that wins the championship in the end, even with the likes of Prost, Senna, Schumacher etc... and there's no doubt from me that Vettel is a class act. No wonder Jackie Stewart is such a big fan, I would argue there's a similarity in that both drivers were/are brilliant at leading from the front and controlling the race.

    I would LOVE to see Vettel and Alonso fight it out in equal cars...

  • Comment number 45.

    >"In some respects this season reminds me of the one in '93. That year Senna was undoubtedly the best driver but a combination of the vastly superior Williams FW15C and the knowhow of Prost won the championship that year."


    Leaving aside your judgement call that Senna was "undoubtedly the best driver" that year, that's still a terrible analogy. The two Williams cars took 15 of 16 pole positions that year. Senna typically qualified a stunning TWO SECONDS slower than Prost. You can't seriously be suggesting that the RB8 is comparable to the 1993 Williams and that it is a "vastly superior" car.

    Those people going on and on about how unfairly fast the RB car supposedly is this year should look to 1993 for correction.

    This year is actually a lot like 2008 - multiple race winners all down the table, very little separating the top drivers in terms of qualifying time or distance ahead at the end.

  • Comment number 46.

    Shame Hammy couldn't get closer to Vettel at the start...I have a sneaking suspicion he may've tried to inadvertently do a 'Schumacher' and take him out...Oh well...shame.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    Such a shame the other teams can't compete with Red Bulls design genius and the know how to quickly gain lost ground. It makes for pretty boring viewing and slightly inflates the statistics of a very good driver into a great one. That he's one victory behind Jackie Stewart does look a bit askew as he's not in the same league as the flying scotsman. Hopefully next season there is a more even playing field and we can start to get to the bottom of who is actually the best driver.

  • Comment number 49.

    @47. Boristhegreek your racist mask is starting to slip a little, I mean statements like "rapper/driver Hammy" just expose you completely.

  • Comment number 50.

    @Twirlip
    "Being a top driver means different things in different eras of F1. One of the things making Vettel the top driver at present is that he seems to have a unique ability to drive fast while still preserving his tyres."
    That's because over the past 2 years the Red Bull has had so much more downforce. This season the downforce levels have been similar and the top drivers have all managed their tyres more or less as good as each other.

  • Comment number 51.

    LOL! I never knew one could define rappers as a race! :D

    But its the usual MO of the P Hammy-fangirls: whenever someone mentions Hamilton less than impressive results, they play the racism card. Cheap.

  • Comment number 52.

    I just get frustrated seeing some of your comments about Vettel having the superior machinery and Alonso being in a sorry state. It's not. Alonso has "lucked" out of others' issues in close to five occasions this season. Yes, you have to be at the right place at the right time to make your own luck but saying he's class is far fetched. Consider yesterday's race, McLaren drivers were fighting between themselves while Alonso squeezed past both of them with a speed advantage of atleast 7kmph. Ofcourse Webber's KERS issues helped but Alonso is not doing anything the car is not capable of doing.

    Onto Vettel. I think people need to get out of this selective amnesia state, open up their eyes and watch him drive the wheels out of the car at Spa Francorchamps this season to see why even with an inferior car, he can be a good driver, or atleast as good as Alonso. And ofcourse Vettel has had his fair share of misfortunes too, like Monza, Valencia etc where he had to retire due to no fault of his. Alonso on the other hand put himself under trouble in Suzuka by pushing Kimi to the grass. Thank god, he got nothing out of the race because he deserved to crash out there.

    Talking about driving the best car, when did Alonso win a championship without driving the best car? Or for that matter, when did anyone win a championship without driving the best car or one of the best cars? Alonso is better than Massa, similarly Vettel is better than Webber and that's all we can conclude here but Vettel is on course to win his third championship. In such a complex sport where team work and precision prevail more than anything else, you cannot discount the feat achieved by Vettel. And in F1, whoever wins the championship deserves to win it, end of story.

  • Comment number 53.

    @ Boristhegreek

    I have no idea why you have decided to drag Hamilton's name onto this blog. It does not concern him any one bit and honestly the whole world and especially this blog would be much neater. Go find something else to do.

  • Comment number 54.

    @ 43

    You´re quite correct about Senna´s Lotus years. Lotus was definitely fielding a winning car, which is why Senna signed for them. As with Fangio, Senna never stuck very long in a losing team. I´m not sure either of them made a losing team into a winner, either. Fangio at Maserati, maybe?

    @ 30 & 35: Was Vettel´s 4th place in 2007 not in a BMW, rather than Torro Rosso? A very strong result for a debutant. Maybe making a very strong competitor like Webber into a solid no 2 over a full 3 seasons is the best indicator of how strong Vettel really is. It´s not just the car.

  • Comment number 55.

    Sadly I can't believe that with three races still to go the only interest I now have is seeing the Austin GP, give the incredible start, 7 different winners and all that. Cream does rise to the top and no doubt about the combination of Vettel and Red Bull is just that, it's just a shame that the excitement has ebbed away from this season. Maybe the spending cap might help level the playing field, I won't hold my breath waiting for it though.

  • Comment number 56.

    I see that Twirlip has already left his excrement all over this discussion.

    #20 "I expected Hamilton to challenge for the win."

    No you didn't. It's yet another statement of yours to fulfill your agenda. But let's imagine that you did truly believe that. Well, it would suggest you don't watch the races, as post-Singapore it's clear that McLaren simply haven't had the pace to challenge Red Bull. Or you don't/will not understand such startingly obvious things.

    "The start of the season, when the McLaren was the quickest car by some distance..."

    Oh don't kid yourself. The McLaren was the quickest car overall. But nowhere near as the Red Bull is now. Nor has the McLaren car (or team) had the consistency or reliability of the Red Bull over the previous four races.

    #23, Dominating in superior machinery is just one part of "greatness." Vettel, to date, has been unremarkable without the best car. Otherwise, perhaps you'll explain his one win in the first thirteen races this season when his Red Bull wasn't the best car?

    #28 Oh, I don't know, perhaps beating the then reigning two time WDC as a teammate (Alonso, the driver most impartial viewers believe to be, by far, the best driver today)during his rookie year!? Or winning by a staggering 1m 08 seconds in the wet at Silverstone 2008? Perhaps, being the then youngest WDC in 2008? I'm sure you cite similar "youngest" records for Vettel when it suits.

    #43. I don't suppose you've even heard of Tolman.

    #45, It's all relative. Otherwise, once again I ask you to explain Vettel's 2012, pre and post Singapore. Some stats for you. Pre Singapore, Vettel had an average qualifying and finishing position of 5.3. After Newey's upgrades Singapore and beyond? An average qualifying position of 1.75 and an average finishing position of 1.

    Webber has also greatly improved post-Singapore. Why is that, Twirlip?

    And another couple of points. You've only started to watch F1, since Vettel started winning, haven't you? And you watch solely to see Vettel win. Such things explain your absence on here between Valencia and Singapore.

  • Comment number 57.

    @54...Vettel originally began his F1 career driving the BMW deputising for the injured Kubica but later on he became a full driver with the Torro Rosso following the dismisal of Scott Speed if i am not wrong.

  • Comment number 58.

    Dullest race of the season, other than the first few corners (as always) the highlight of the race must have been that uber slick steering wheel and tyre change of Hamilton's in 3 seconds.

  • Comment number 59.

    @51. Boristhegreek Sorry I just can't take you seriously.

    Look, everyone can see through you so why don't you stop writing nonsense and just cut to the chase and write in every post....

    I HATE HAMILTON
    I HATE HAMILTON.

  • Comment number 60.

    >"I see that Twirlip has already left his excrement all over this discussion"

    I see that Mr. Excrement is back excreting all over the place with his usual grace and class.

    >"Webber has also greatly improved post-Singapore."

    No, Mr. Excrement, he has not. Singapore, Japan, Korea, India = zero points, two points, eighteen points, fifteen points for Webber. That's NOT an improvement - it's somehwhat worse than Webber has done over any other four race span this season.

  • Comment number 61.

    @52@"Talking about driving the best car, when did Alonso win a championship without driving the best car? Or for that matter, when did anyone win a championship without driving the best car or one of the best cars? Alonso is better than Massa, similarly Vettel is better than Webber and that's all we can conclude here but Vettel is on course to win his third championship. In such a complex sport where team work and precision prevail more than anything else, you cannot discount the feat achieved by Vettel. And in F1, whoever wins the championship deserves to win it, end of story."

    Alonso did it in 2005 fighting against Schumacher and Ferrari. Raikkonen 2007. McLaren was the best car that year but other issues hurt them that season. The spygate and the bad relationship with Alonso.

  • Comment number 62.

    Alonso is a great driver.
    Vettel is almost surely a great driver.
    Button, Hamilton, Webber and Massa (in some order) are very good drivers but will never be considered great short of some miraculous changes in their careers.

  • Comment number 63.

    @60,

    Oh for Christ's sakes. Again, EVERY single post of yours is twisted and spun to try to favour Vettel. Webber HAS improved in recent races, purely because of the upgrades. I'll give you Singapore but see below.

    Japan - Qualified 2nd, finished 9th from last place after Grosjean crashed into him
    Korea - Qualified 1st, finished 2nd
    India - Qualified 2nd, finished 3rd

    Which you'll simply ignore because it doesn't suit your bias. You are by far the most fanatical fanboy on here. As is befitting of someone who has just started watching the sport and is DESPERATE to prove to himself and others that he understands F1.

    Also, three consecutive Red Bull front row lock outs in the last three races, when they had precisely zero during the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 64.

    Average points per race for Mark Webber over the season - 167/17 = 9.8 points per race.

    Average points per race for Mark Webber prior to Singapore - 132/13 = 10.1 points per race.

    Average points per race for Mark Webber from Singapore onwards - 35/4 = 8.7 points per race.

    Whatever magical fairy dust Newey is recently sprinkling on Vettels car, he apparently has none left over for Webber.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    rn has pretty much argued my points for me, thank you.

  • Comment number 67.

    64.
    At 21:32 28th Oct 2012, Twirlip wrote:

    Average points per race for Mark Webber over the season - 167/17 = 9.8 points per race.

    Average points per race for Mark Webber prior to Singapore - 132/13 = 10.1 points per race.

    Average points per race for Mark Webber from Singapore onwards - 35/4 = 8.7 points per race.

    Whatever magical fairy dust Newey is recently sprinkling on Vettels car, he apparently has none left over for Webber.
    _____________________________

    To be fair to Webber though he was shunted by Grosjean at Suzuka so almost certainly dropped some points through no fault of his own.

    In qualifying which is a good indication of speed he has got two second places and a pole in the last 3 Grand Prix.

  • Comment number 68.

    >"beating the then reigning two time WDC as a teammate (Alonso, the driver most impartial viewers believe to be, by far, the best driver today)during his rookie year!? Or winning by a staggering 1m 08 seconds in the wet at Silverstone 2008? Perhaps, being the then youngest WDC in 2008? I'm sure you cite similar "youngest" records for Vettel when it suits."

    Actually, no, I don't.

    But let's assume that I did. In that case, I'd be saying the same sorts of things about Vettel as you constantly say about Hamilton. So wouldn't that make you a hopeless Hami fan boi?

    My point about Vettel is the same as it has always been - that people complaining about how supposedly fabulous his car is are ignorant at best, bigoted at worst. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with F1 must know that the successful drivers of the past enjoyed a much greater degree of mechanical superiority than Vettel has.

    That's a narrowly focused argument. If you were capable of a narrowly focused rebuttal of it you would not be the contemptible character you are.

  • Comment number 69.

    @redsloz Vettel is just as fortunate as Alonso, they have both had 2 dnfs this season. If anything Alonso is less fortunate as he's been taken out in two first corner incidents. I am a Mclaren fan but I can see that Alonso is the best driver in the field and is out performing his car.

    How you can think Massa should be given a fair chance is stupid. He is being given a fair chance, he's just not good enough. 10 podiums to Massa's 1. Massa is told to slow down in one GP and you focus on that.... ignore the fact that he was 35 seconds behind Alonso today. I hope Alonso wins the title as he is most deserved, and I also hope Vettel moves to Ferrari so we can see the two best drives against each other in the same cars

  • Comment number 70.

    >"Oh for Christ's sakes."

    Oh for Christ's sakes.

    I still say you're a Beeb employee, Mr Excrement.

  • Comment number 71.

    rn - not to mention 9 podium finish in his 9 first F1 races as a rookie, a feat that has never previously been achieved and I doubt will ever be achieved

  • Comment number 72.

    >"In qualifying which is a good indication of speed he has got two second places and a pole in the last 3 Grand Prix."

    So, was qualifying also a good indication of speed when Senna took 8 of 16 poles in the Lotus in 1986? Because people keep telling me that the Lotus was an "inferior car".

  • Comment number 73.

    @ thegreat:

    I didnt drag Hamiltons name in it. Benson did.

    It is very relevant to point out that Bensons thesis: starting from pole makes winning easy, doesnt hold ground when you think about pole sitter Lewis getting beaten by Jenson and Vettel.

    Its relevant to point out that Bensons thesis: Vettel is only good when he starts from pole, is not right when you consider his first race of 2012, when he beat Hamilton, who started from pole.

    Considering Bensons man love for Hamilton, saying he is 'the best driver of his generation' but couldnt even win from pole that race, it is worthy of mentioning in an article designed to talk up Alonso and downplay Vettel.

    @ straight talker, im sorry to point out the flaws in your hero P Hammy's driving. Another year where he is thouroughly beaten, and todays flat race - after him yesterday promising he would race the Red Bulls - was another reminder that if one guy isnt an F1 great, its Hamilton.

  • Comment number 74.

    @72 Twirlip

    The difference is the Lotus in '86 was fast but unreliable - I guess you could say it was the equivalent of the McLaren of 2012.

  • Comment number 75.

    @Boristhegeek - You keep pulling the same Benson quote out about how he praises Lewis, because it's one of very few!

    The truth is anyone who enjoys the excitement of F1 should enjoy Lewis' driving because it's exciting! Whether you don't like him because he's a 'rapper' or maybe a 'gangster' if you want to be stereotypical if not completely racist, shouldn't matter. Fans want to see fast overtaking and crashes (as long as no one is hurt), that's what makes F1 exciting. That's why people liked Senna, that's why people like Hamilton and Alonso.

    P.S I'm not going to compare how exciting Lewis is compared to Jenson for example, as that would start the fortnightly argument.

  • Comment number 76.

    @ remembersenna,

    So where was the excitement in Melbourne? Lewis Hamilton, mr overtaker, playing a dull boy behind Vettel in a much lesser car.

    Where was the excitement today? He started P3 and finished P4. A good race, but hardly exciting. He was gonna fight the red bulls, didnt he?

    You know who was exciting today? Alonso. Starting P5, overtaking Button, Hamilton and Webber, splitting the dominant Red Bulls in a lame Ferrari.

  • Comment number 77.

    Today - What else was happening for the last eight laps than Lewis chasing down Mark? Sure he didn't quite get him, but it offered some rare excitement.

    Alonso's excitement - Lewis and Jenson - first straight, exciting, but soon over. Webber, without KERS and DRS was a sitting duck to Alonso, sadly not at all exciting, just inevitable. Charles Pic made it up to 19th from 24th on the first lap! By your logic he must be SO exciting, maybe the best driver in the field!

  • Comment number 78.

    Alonso performed the best of the top teams imo and Jenson the worst.

    Jenson Button today got mugged by both Alonso and Hamilton and to add insult to injury Jenson on new tyres couldn't overtake Grosjean who was on old tyres and ended up finishing the race 13 seconds behind Lewis.

    Also note that both Lotuses were struggling for straight line speed so it should have been candy from a baby.

    Look at how little attention gets drawn to those startling facts.

    Hamilton would have been crucified if that was him today.

  • Comment number 79.

    @ Boristhegreek

    Why would you label LH as the rapper? even if he is, what is wrong with that?
    Why are you paranoid? No one said LH was F1, only you who cant seem to stop talking about him.
    About him getting beaten today! Are you serious? Did you see anyone beating the redbul today? Maybe we should forget that the redbull has been fastest in practice 1,2,3 and quali.
    Also why single him out? i seem to remember Vettel beating everyone?

    Boris every topic on BBC f1 i have seen you in, all you talk about is Hamilton rapper this, Hamilton urban that? what is your beef really? seriously, thing about it and get back to me.

  • Comment number 80.

    @Oddz Superbly put, vendetta comes to mind

  • Comment number 81.

    @ remembersenna,

    Lol, so Alonso overtaking Webber was no so exciting because he was a lame duck, but Lewis chasing that same lame duck Webber was?

    @ oddz,

    Yeah, I saw Alonso beat a Red Bull, and chased Vettel in a very exciting manner.

    LH didnt quite live up to his big mouth of saying hed fight the Red Bulls, and even got beaten by a lame Ferrari.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    And to top it off, when someone calls him racist he just accuses them of being a 'hamilton-fanboi' and 'pulling out the race card'

  • Comment number 84.

    @83 exactly!!! It's a very predictable pattern but very easy to see through.

  • Comment number 85.

    @ 81 Boristhegreek

    You still havent answered my many question i asked you in post 79
    i stress again take your time and get back to me please

    Also about the race today, Button and not LH in the post interview said that the Mclaren couldn't handle the soft tyres, Once they fitted the hard tyres, you saw both he and Hamilton coming back in the field.

    Seriously what is your beef?
    You know i have even seen a comment of yours bashing Hamilton for wearing an earing?!!!!!!!!

    Again, think about it and get back to me

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    'Puff Hammy' - nice, racist and homophobic. How are your comments not taken down for breaking house rules I'll never know.

  • Comment number 88.

    @Oddz & @remembersenna

    Boristhegreek plain and simple has a problem with Hamiltons color and he believes as long as he hurls negative abuse at Hamilton that is not racist then nobody will call him out on his real agenda.

    The problem is he is so full of hate he lets his mask slip with references to "rapper/driver Hammy"

    One thing you can be sure of with a people who have those views is that they don't admit it in public.

  • Comment number 89.

    Interesting that Boristhegreek is free to make racial slurs against Hamilton but only the post pointing it out gets moderated.

  • Comment number 90.

    Actually thinking about it, I hope Boristhegreeks posts stay up as they just expose his views even more.

  • Comment number 91.

    McLaren had a mare today. They clearly put all their eggs in the qualifykng basket and forgot that points are won on a Sunday. Both Hamilton and Button's top speeds through the speed trap were 10ks + down on the fastest cars...What were the engineers thinking of? Talk about going to battle with one arm tied behind your back! Anyways, great job Red Bull and Seb, again...another combination of fastest car and qualifying on pole does the job.

    I find it amusing that people are so surprised/offended by this...

    2009 - Brawn had a huge start of the season advantage, Red Bull had a huge end of the season advantage - Button won, Vettel 2nd
    2010 - Red Bull easily the fastest car - Vettel would have won with time to spare but for early season reliability issues.
    2011 - Red Bull totally dominant - Vettel wins easily
    2012 - McLaren had the early lead through Button, Hamilton caught and passed him but issues with the team let Alonso catch them both. Red Bull have since got their act hugely together and have dominated the last 4 races - Vettel odds on to win the WDC.

    It's not a coincidence folks!

  • Comment number 92.

    Lol Boris you still no answering the questions i asked!
    I get it that you are trying to get a rise out of me but as you can clearly see it is not working.
    All you doing is making yourself look ridiculous, so here is another chance

  • Comment number 93.

    Let me start by saying I'm by no means a fan of Vettel's or Red Bull's. They're dominance makes me want to change the channel at times, especially over the last 3-4 races, but you cannot deny that Sebastian is something special.

    He's outperformed his team-mate over the past 3 years in a car that's consistently been one of the top 2 teams, and very often the best in terms of performance. The discrepancy in performance between the top teams isn't as great as some people are making it out to be on forums like these, Vettel is just making it look so lately with his performances. He's doing precisely what is asked of him in order to retain his WDC. He's putting the car on pole and leading from lights to flag. The consistency of concentration throughout is astonishing and something to be admired.

    However, the Red Bull isn't unbeatable when they encounter a track that suits their set-up. Take Mark Webber for example, who's no slouch in the car by any stretch of the imagination. Fernando has shown today that the Red Bull isn't unbeatable, and just exemplifies how quick Vettel is in comparison.

    I really hope this title goes down to the last race in Brazil, but I fear if Vettel finishes above Alonso in Abu Dhabi, then it's curtains. Barring any reliability issues or poor weather conditions, and even with further upgrades, I don't see how Ferrari are going to claw back the deficit in the WDC.

  • Comment number 94.

    @ oddz,

    You asked if i had seen anyone beat red bull today, i said yes, alonso. You asked why hamiltons examples of drvig, i said because its relevant to bensons arguing over Vettel not being all that.

    @croftalicious,

    Red Bull had Kers issues, tea tray scraping on top of various points an wins lost by alternator issues and gearbox penaltys. Its not lke mclaren the only team screwing up. They simply dont have very good drivers, drivers of the calibre of Vettel.

    Benson, why no article on Hamilton now officially out of title race and being beaten by Vettel indefinitly for 2012?

  • Comment number 95.

    @56 ' Dominating in superior machinery is just one part of "greatness." Vettel, to date, has been unremarkable without the best car. Otherwise, perhaps you'll explain his one win in the first thirteen races this season when his Red Bull wasn't the best car?'

    Did you forget Vettel was dominating Valencia before his retirement and also had 3 poles and should have also won Canada if not for the tyre stragedy.And this all before the much hailed Newey upgrade you love to bring up.

  • Comment number 96.

    "Its not lke mclaren the only team screwing up. They simply dont have very good drivers,"

    That is absolutely hilarious. I'm a massive critic when it comes to Button and even I'd say he fits the description of "very good driver"

  • Comment number 97.

    Button plays a part in the rudderless attitude of Mclaren too. Both him and Hamilton dont seem to be very good team leaders, showing unity and spend many hours with the team. Hamiltons tweet gate and girl band management show he is busy with other things than racing and getting a real world title.

    Insteads, Vettel and Alonso, the big 2 of F1 (benson likes to include Hamilton, for reasons unknown to me) show being an F1 great takes brain power, leadership, vision and devotion. Hamilton and Button dont have that, and thats why they dont fight for the title, and Vettel breaks all the records.

  • Comment number 98.

    Just found something out :)

    Did you know that the BBC keeps a record of all the comments you ever made on its forums? Well it does :)

    So with that in mind i decided to check Boristhegreek commentS history LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

    Please do click his name and check it, makes for an interesting read i must say.

    "BE ADVISED THOUGH; contains a lot of Hate"

  • Comment number 99.

    Though Vettel is one of the best right now, he is far from being THE best. Vettel is strong and wins his races mostly when he has the best car and the pole position. I am not a hater, but I def think that Hamilton, Alonso and even Kimi are better than him. Until he proves that he can win races without Newey, though his legacy is already cemented, he won't be one of the greats. It is ridiculous when he is ranked higher than Alonso in the all time great standings. Vettel can win this championship but making people say that he is better than Alonso? He has a lot more to do

  • Comment number 100.

    @ Boris 94, you're right, Red Bull did have problems today with Webber's KERs. The tea tray was unfortunate, but didn't slow Vettel at all, so that's a moot issue. And Vettel's retired a couple of times due to mechanical issues; but so has every driver bar Alonso and Raikkonnen...

    I'm not belittling Vettel; in the quickest car he is undoubtably the quickest driver. Period. What I'm trying to get at is at almost every race the driver who has won the race has been in the quickest car (Button, Rosberg early in the year, Button and Hamilton Hungary - Italy, Vettel and Webber in some mid-season races, and Vettel in the last 4) Only Alonso and Maldonado have won races in inferior machinery, in my opinion, this season. For someone, such as yourself, to assert that the reason McLaren don't lead the championship because their drivers are poor is, I think, absurd. Both Button and Hamilton have proven themselves quick over their careers, and to dismiss them as below Vettel who has never win without having a leading car, is ridiculous. Infact, how many races has Vettel won from off the front row of the grid? Not many I bet...

    Again, I'm not belittling his achievements, far from it, his destruction of Webber this year and last shows just how good he is. I just don't think he transcends the field to the level you do. Is all.

 

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