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Would Vettel or Alonso be more deserving champion?

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Andrew Benson | 17:52 UK time, Tuesday, 13 November 2012

On the surface, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso seem very different. Alonso is all dark, brooding intensity; charismatic but distant.

Vettel is much sunnier - chatty, long answers, always ready with a joke and, as the Abu Dhabi podium ceremony proved, a salty English phrase.

Underneath, though, they share more than might at first be apparent. Both are highly intelligent, intensely dedicated to their profession, and totally ruthless in their own way.

Equally, although Alonso’s wit may be less obvious than Vettel’s, it is highly developed, bone dry, effective, and often used to tactical ends.

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso

Sebastian Vettel (right) leads Fernando Alonso in the Championship going into the penultimate race of the season. Photo: Reuters  

And they are both, of course, utterly fantastic racing drivers.

These two all-time greats head into the final two races of a marathon and topsy-turvey 2012 Formula 1 season separated by a tiny margin. Ten points is the same as a fifth place - or the margin between finishing first and third.

Vettel, on account of being ahead and having comfortably the faster car, is favourite. But within F1 there is a feeling that Alonso would be the more deserving champion, so well has he performed in a car that is not the best.

But is that a fair and accurate point of view? Let's look at their seasons, and you can make your own judgement.

THE GOOD

Vettel

It seems strange now, in the wake of Red Bull's recent pulverising form, but at the start of this season the world champions were struggling.

The car always had very good race pace - it was right up with the quickest from Melbourne on - but qualifying was a different matter.

In China, Vettel did not make it into the top 10 shoot-out in qualifying; in Monaco he did – just - but then did not run because he didn’t feel he had the pace to make it worthwhile.

In both races, though, he was competitive, taking a fifth place in China and fourth in Monaco, where he nearly won.

That was the story of the first two-thirds of Vettel’s season. He kept plugging away, delivering the points and keeping himself in contention in the championship.

He took only one win – in Bahrain, from pole – and he should have had another in Valencia, when he was as dominant as he ever was in 2011 only to retire with alternator failure.

Then, when Red Bull finally hit the sweet spot with their car, he delivered four consecutive wins (one of them inherited following Lewis Hamilton’s retirement in Singapore), the last three from the front row of the grid, including two pole positions.

And in Abu Dhabi there was an impressive comeback drive to third after being demoted to the back of the grid, albeit with the help of a significant dose of luck.

Alonso

It is hard to think of a race in which, assuming he got around the first corner, Alonso has not been on world-class form.

In Australia, when Ferrari were really struggling with their car at the start of the season, he fought up from 12th on the grid to finish fifth (including getting up to eighth on the first lap).

His three victories have been among the best all year –in the wet in Malaysia from ninth on the grid; in Valencia from 11th, including some stunning, clinical and brave overtaking manoeuvres; and a superbly controlled defensive drive in Germany, holding off the faster cars of Vettel and Jenson Button for the entire race, by going flat out only where he needed to, lap after lap after lap.

Then, to pick out some other highlights, there was beating the Red Bulls to pole in the wet at both Silverstone and Hockenheim; his rise from 10th on the grid to third in Monza, including a courageous pass on Vettel a couple of laps after being forced on to the grass at nearly 200mph; and splitting the Red Bulls to finish second in India.

THE BAD

Vettel

Impressive Vettel has been this year, flawless he has not.

In Malaysia, he cost himself a fourth place by sweeping too early across the front of Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT while lapping it. There was a hint of frustration and a sense of entitlement about the move – as there was in his post-race comments in which he called Karthikeyan an “idiot”.

In Spain, he was penalised for ignoring yellow caution flags.

In Hockenheim he overtook Jenson Button’s McLaren off the circuit, earning himself a demotion from second to fifth place, despite the drivers being warned only a month or so before that they could not benefit by going off the track.

In Monza, he earned a drive-through penalty for pushing Alonso on to the grass at nearly 200mph, in presumed retaliation for a similar move the Spaniard had pulled on Vettel in the same place the previous year. Again, this was despite the drivers being warned that they had to leave room for a rival who had any part of his car alongside any part of theirs.

In qualifying in Japan, he got away with blocking Alonso at the chicane, despite Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne being penalised for doing the same thing to Williams’s Bruno Senna earlier in the session.

And in India he appeared to break guidelines about having all four wheels off the track at one of the chicanes on his only top-10 qualifying lap, but kept his time because the only available footage was from outside the car, and showed only the front wheels. So the FIA had to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Alonso

Er… Has Alonso made any errors at all this year?

Well, he did cost himself a couple of points in China when he ran off the road attempting to pass Williams’s Pastor Maldonado around the outside of Turn Seven – a move that Vettel did pull off against Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen.

He spun in a downpour in second qualifying at Silverstone, just before the session was red-flagged because it was too dangerous.

And some argue that, defending a championship lead, he should not have put himself in the position he did at the start in Japan, where his rear wheel was tagged by Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus on the run to the first corner, putting Alonso out of the race.

The claim is that Alonso had everything to lose and that, while he did nothing wrong, trying to intimidate Raikkonen into backing off, and squeezing him twice, was too big a risk.

The opposing view of that incident is that Raikkonen, who was behind Alonso, had a better view of the situation and should have realised he wasn’t going anywhere from where he was and backed off.

THE MISFORTUNE

Vettel has lost points from two alternator failures, one in Valencia when he was leading and one in Italy when he was running sixth. And third became fourth in Canada when a planned one-stop strategy had to he aborted. That’s 36 points lost.

Alonso was taken out twice at the start – once definitely not his fault (Belgium, when Romain Grosjean’s flying Lotus narrowly missed his head); and once arguably not (Japan).

He lost a possible win in Monaco because Ferrari didn’t realise that if they left him out a bit longer before his pit stop he could have overtaken leader Mark Webber and second-placed Nico Rosberg as well as third-placed Lewis Hamilton.

He should have finished second in Canada and probably won in Silverstone - rather than being fifth and second - but for errant tyre strategies, and he would have been on the front row and finished at least second in Monza had his rear anti-roll bar not failed in qualifying.

That’s 60-odd points lost.

A POST SCRIPT

While we’re analysing Vettel and Alonso, spare a thought for Lewis Hamilton.

The McLaren driver finally lost any mathematical chance of the title after his retirement from the lead in Abu Dhabi. He is 90 points behind Vettel.

Hamilton has said that he has driven at his absolute best this season, and it’s hard to disagree – he has not made a single mistake worth the name.

But his year has been a story of operational and technical failures by his team.

At least three wins have been lost (Spain, Singapore and Abu Dhabi), as well as a series of other big points finishes, as detailed by BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen in his blog.

Without that misfortune, Hamilton would be right up with Vettel and Alonso, if not ahead of them.

So, if you’re thinking about ‘deserving’ world champions, if such a thing exists, spare a thought for him too.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Has to be Alonso, has got a lot more out of a lesser car.

  • Comment number 2.

    Please also spare a thought for Kimi Raikkonen.

    Poor Lotus strategy calls cost him at least 35 points (China, Bahrain and Spain) -- with a corresponding drop in points for Vettel of 9 points (Bahrain and China) and 5 points for Alonso (China and Spain).

    If you factor in the above: VET would be on 246, ALO on 240 and RAI on 233 -- that's just 13 points separating the top three with two GPs to go!

  • Comment number 3.

    Alonso deserves it more. Not once has the Ferrari been the fastest car in dry conditions. Vettel can only win when the car is the fastest, as proved this season when he won only 1 of the first 13 races, because his car wasn't the fastest, and even that race he won from from pole! This theory that Vettel can only win when he has the fastest car has been confirmed more than ever this season

  • Comment number 4.

    I think most people will agree that Alonso deserves it as he has been the stand out driver with a mediocre piece of machinery. Unfortunately, people will only remember the person who wins the WDC and all others will quickly be forgotten. Barring rain in USA, I don't see how Alonso will be able to beat a car which is much superior to his and a driver who is just slightely behind him in terms of quality.

  • Comment number 5.

    Alonso.

  • Comment number 6.

    It irritates me that things like strategic errors and unreliability class as misfortune - if Red Bull have the same component fail multiple times that sounds like they've traded off some safety margin on reliability for a bit more performance, so that's their risk. Being taken out from behind before completing turn 1 twice however ..

  • Comment number 7.

    I have not been Alonso's biggest fan in the last few years but he has been absolutely amazing this year. Consistent, fast, opportunist, intelligent and mature. Alonso deserves it and I think I might get what he deserves. Head to head he is better than Vettel. SV has undeniably had the fastest car again and therefore with his experience and confidence was always the favorite. Nice touch by Benson to highlight what could have been for Hamilton had it not been for the horrendous team performance of McLaren.
    Never thought I'd say this but; C'mon Fernando...

  • Comment number 8.

    Alonso over Vettel obviously! and for 'constructors', Red Bull over Ferrari obviously. Unfortunately the drivers construction is based on some combination of the two, which as it stands means Vettel. It is very rare for a driver to out-perform his car and win the title. On such days, greats are made

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Alonso is a mastermind. He has somehow made everyone believe that the Ferrari is a totally rubbish car. And everyone believes him. Now apart from the earlier races, the Ferrari has been a decent car - especially on race days! So getting tired of people saying he had the worse car of the lot - er, no he hasn't!

    Still, all season he has driven very cleverly and out of the two drivers, he probably is the more deserving.

    However, Vettel also has driven well, despite more mistakes than Alonso, so for him to be leading the WDC is also an achievement. I mean, in the last 4 races - yes, he had the fastest car (probably), but you still got to win the races themselves....though probably easier from the front of the grid eh?

    Out of these two, I don't know who I would prefer to win. I really don't. I don't want SV to win 3rd in a row, but nor do I want Alonso to win a 3rd championship.

    WHY OH WHY couldn't it be someone neutral, like MW....

    And indeed poor LH... finally read something that AB wrote that is not overly negative about him!

    Ah 2 races, it'll probably end up being SV...... :|

  • Comment number 11.

    Both fabulous drivers!

    However I think Vettel deserves it!

  • Comment number 12.

    Whomever finishes top of the standings at the end of the season is the most "deserving" driver to win the championship - regardless of luck, indifference, mechanical failures, who has the best/worst car..... etc

  • Comment number 13.

    It has to be Alonso, the best driver there is and yet in a less than perfect car he's driven an amazing season.One of GP'S all time greats!

  • Comment number 14.

    F1 is a team sport so for me Vettal is more deserving as the mechanics, drivers, team bigwigs etc all at their best producing the most reliable and fastest car over the last few years.

    However, for best driver performance this season, for me, it has to be Kimi Raikkonen. He has shown that he still is a class driver. Maybe in a Redbull, Maclaren or Ferrari he would still be in with a chance of the world title. Hopefully next year Lotus will have a car to challenge for titles to make F1 more interesting.

  • Comment number 15.

    Good blog. Let's face it, either of them are worthy champions. You dont luck out over 20 weekends of racing.

  • Comment number 16.

    Deserving ? (1)Hamilton (2) Alonso (3) Kimi (4) Vettel

  • Comment number 17.

    Guess there's nothing to write about, hence this drivel. Deserve? No one deserves to win anything. You win because you're the best over the course of a season by accumulating the most points. What has 'deserve' had to do with any sporting achievement?

  • Comment number 18.

    Red Bull deserve the Constructors Champ, simply blown away the opposition in late season development. Ferrari seem to have been lost with their develpoment since the German GP, looking totally desperate in the last race Practice 1/2/3 trying all sorts of combinations of new parts. Not as slow as the start of the year but still off the pace, a crying shame for us who want a wheel to wheel battle between Alonso and Vettel.

    Alonso deserves the drivers championship:
    -Relentless race pace
    -Finishing a much slower car sometimes and a slightly slower car at other times up the front where it doesn't deserve to be
    -Amazing number of great overtakes especially non-DRS overtakes in the first few laps of the race.
    -Less mistakes than Seb, surprising as he starts many races further back than Seb in traffic and has to pass more cars.


    A POST SCRIPT (or alternate view on ifs and buts...)

    While we’re analysing Vettel and Alonso, spare a thought for Pedro de la Rosa.

    The HRT driver lost any mathematical chance of the title before the season began.

    Pedro has not made a single mistake worth the name. But his year has been a story of operational and technical failures by his team.

    At least eighteen wins have been lost if only the HRT had been a bit better at going round corners and Pedro had been a little bit faster.

    Without that misfortune, Pedro would be right up with Vettel and Alonso, if not ahead of them. So, if you’re thinking about ‘deserving’ world champions, if such a thing exists, spare a thought for him too.
    ;)

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    Both Vettel and Hamilton have driven very well this year. Either would be a deserving champion.

    But what Alonso has done is astonishing. I can't think of a single race in which the Ferrari was clearly quickest, but there have been lots where it was well behind the Red Bulls and McLarens - yet Alonso has produced competitive finishes over and again. It reminds me very much of Jackie Stewart in the Tyrrell in the early 70s, when the Lotus was so much faster but somehow Stewart was always thereabouts. I wouldn't mind Vettel winning the title... but I'd prefer Alonso to underline on of the great years of driving with a championship.

  • Comment number 21.

    Best Driver - Alonso
    Unluckiest Driver - Hamilton

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    I'll go against popular opinion and say Vettel. You can have a quick car but you need to know what to do with it and Vettel does. Webber is no slow coach but he's been outclassed again this year by Vettel in what is pretty much equal cars.
    I don't believe the hype that Ferrari have had a bad car, it's not the fastest I admit but they've had good race pace pretty much the whole season and the team is built around Alonso so he has had the best opportunities. Therefore you can't make a comparison between Alonso & Massa as you can with Vettel & Webber.

  • Comment number 24.

    Alonso deserves it, kimi, Lewis deserve it too. Lewis seems to be only one with a good team mate jb Lewis had two World champions in his team I want to see vettel alongside someone like jb or kimi vettel would struggle against them webber is fast in quality but am average driver overall

  • Comment number 25.

    Vettel deserves it. Alonso benefits from team orders too often.

  • Comment number 26.

    Alonso, no question. He has shown more skills and more consistancy. He is warrior fighting for ganing as many points as he can in a reliable but slow car. He has outperformed the car in many races. Vettel on the other hand pull away in the championship when Red Bull put toghether the best car later in the season.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't think that strategic errors and a bad reliability should be considered misfortune. For those things, the teams are to blame.

    What i have to say or to add: You mentioned that the RB was not the quickest car under qualifying conditions. Ok, maybe the Mclaren was without any doubt the best car in the first couple of races but at least RB took 4 Poles in the first 8 races - more than any other team. You say in your article that Vettel didn't make it into Q3 in China. That's right, but his teammate did. You said, that he didn't feel he had the pace in Q3 of Monaco. You're right with that one, but again his teammate Webber didn't agree an what followed? Webber startet from pole after Schumacher got his penalty and finally won the race.

    You also mentioned that Vettel was off the track with all 4 wheels in the Indian Q3. Yep, and it was not the first time he did so this year: He did the same in Silverstone (or was it Hockenheim?) and Hungary. Never got a penalty.

    What can i add to Alonsos card? His mistake in the australian Q2, but i'm not sure if it did make any difference.

    In the end it was the speed of Vettels car that allowed him to do more mistakes. He drove some fantastic races but maybe that's the biggest difference between Vettel and Alonso 2012:

    Vettel, driving great races.
    Alonso, driving a great season.

  • Comment number 28.

    Andrew - Very biased journalism - Grow up.
    Stop blaming Seb for Malaysia, Japan & India - Stewards didn't penalise Seb for those.
    Points lost by seb: Valencia (25), Monza (8), Malaysia (12) = 45 points
    Stop crediting points for Fernando for team mistakes - they are not misfortune.
    Points lost by Alonso can't be certain because of first lap incidents - still, giving him 2 3rd places will only mean 30 points - How did you arrive at 60 points?
    Whoever wins the WDC deserves it.

  • Comment number 29.

    Both Vettel and Alonso have shown that they are fantastic racing drivers this season. Right now I think we have four drivers of about equal (but unique) skill on the grid (Kimi and Hamilton being the other two).

    The great thing is that they all have unique strengths, weaknesses and personalities on and off the track:

    Vettel: Fantastic qualifying pace and very fast in clear air but maybe a bit impatient when trying to overtake can lead to recklessness. Very much the joker of the grid off the track.

    Alonso: The most intelligent driver and the one who is the most focused and driven to winning world championships. He is probably not the out-and-out fastest (he has admitted this himself) but makes up for this with his other abilities. Comes across as a fiercely focused person off the track.

    Kimi: Incredible race pace and fearless (but not reckless) overtaking ability. He has a more measured approach to racing since his return which is probably a result of the tyre degradation of the current regulations and it has payed dividends this season. Only weakness is his qualifying pace. A maverick personality off the track requires an acquired taste but I think he is the best character on the grid.

    Hamilton: Brilliant qualifying pace and equally brilliant race pace and overtaking abilities. His mentality is his only weakness. He can become impatient and probably a bit naive. Comes across as a bit arrogant which I actually like and I think it is a trait that more british sportsmen should have. It shows that you are confident in your own abilities and ensures that you don't doubt yourself.

  • Comment number 30.

    Alonso.

  • Comment number 31.

    Alonso!

  • Comment number 32.

    Will be gutted if Alonso does not win it. What a driver, leader and never give up bloke. In equal cars he would have cruised it this year. The best in this field in my opinion by a little way.

  • Comment number 33.

    Ayrton Senna RIP "...every year there is a winner, but not necessarily a world champion"

    Alonso has made this year worth watching, he gets my vote for driver of 2012.

  • Comment number 34.

    Words cannot describe how accurate comment 21 is.

  • Comment number 35.

    other than those 2 it has to be Hamilton.3 certain victories(Spain,Singapore,abudhabi)

  • Comment number 36.

    @25, can think of one occasion this year out of 18 where Alonso has had some kind of team order in his favour. Massa has been nowhere near him this year and has therefore not had to be issued team orders, whilst we are at it, Vettel's had just as many team orders in his favour with Mark Webber being told in Abu Dhabi to not fight him if he makes a go at passing. Alonso ftw every day of the week

  • Comment number 37.

    Alonso definitely. What he has achieved this year is nothing short of miraculous. An incredible effort from a great driver.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lets look at the evidence:
    > Vettle came from miles behind to beat Alonso in 2010
    > Vettle beat everyone in 2011
    > Vettle has came from behind to get ahead & probably beat Alonso again in 2012

    There's no doubt that Vettle is a baby Schumi and that's why Alonso & Hamilton are trying to dismiss his achievements and status as a worthy successor to Schumi!

  • Comment number 39.

    lol i press post by accident,#thatwasembarrassing

    but mclaren pitlane errors be it tyre changes,strategy,setup has killed lewis this year they calculated on eurosport that at least over a 140 points for lewis(they included button but nothing has happened to him he is just not as fast as lewis,that was the minimum)

    without that he would probably be champion by now considering if he had those points seb and alonso would have those points or considerably less.

    for me the most deserving champion is alonso,he has been superman all year from when the car was horrendously slow at the start to 3rd at the end.whereas when rb didnt put the blown fumes updates in Singapore(Hamilton still well in control vettel couldn't get near enough) he has been nowhere in terms of qualifying and race finishes in comparison to the previous 3 seasons.the race he did win(Bahrain)kimi should of won but lost his bottle after 2 seasons away.plus the asian tracks(really siut the rb and the new update)

    so for me alonso is the best even when vettel wins 3 straight titles alonso for me is the best this season,he has taken advantage more than anyone this season when others were in trouble but some of the races from 5 or 11th when he won were incredible.im gutted nthe new track isn't on the bbc but i will never buying sky

  • Comment number 40.

    @9 You clearly haven't been following these blogs for very long, Benson in almost every single article tries to take a dig at Hamilton, so I think it quite refreshing when he does actually praise Hamilton without slipping an insult in there.

  • Comment number 41.

    Alonso deserves the championship if he can put in a good performance in the last two races. He has got alot more out of a slower car which proves he is a top class driver.

    Vettel however did perform brillantly in the last GP considering his grid postion, i wasn't expecting that however luck was on his side.

    I predict a tight battle, Alonso deserves the championship but im afriad it will be another Vettel year.

  • Comment number 42.

    Vettel. Not his fault Ferrari techincal development has lagged behind RB in the latter half of the season.

  • Comment number 43.

    Well as Adrian Newey of Red Bull says its a combination of driver and engineer. Alonso s car has been on race pace all season but his qualifying one lap pace has meant he has had to pass plenty to get on the podium. It makes for more excitement but I'm sure he'de prefer to be on pole where a faster driver in Vettel often finds himself.

  • Comment number 44.

    Just another Alonso fanboy article. Vettel gets blamed for anything and everything in a car that's supposed to be so much better than the Ferrari and Fernando can do no wrong in a car that some would have us believe is a midfield runner.

    The Ferrari was rubbish in the first few GPs but after that easily one of the best. How much has Massa scored of late?? If the Redbull is so good how come Webber is looking ordinary. How come nothing is said on Vettel wrong tyre strategies yet Alonso's is analysed minutely?

  • Comment number 45.

    Surely it is pretty obvious that Alonso deserves it.

  • Comment number 46.

    Alonso has been great all year. Vettel has kept his head and worked to put himself back in the championship hunt but whoever finishes 2012 with the most points deserves it. As a Vettel fan, I will be rooting for him.

  • Comment number 47.

    @F1-2-1-2-1

    Did you really waste some of your life writing that drivel?

  • Comment number 48.

    The one who gets the most points deserves to be champion.

  • Comment number 49.

    I do wonder why Andy Benson did not put a mentionto Kimi whilst he mentioned Lewis? Of all the drivers combined together with the car development and the funds available for this, Kimi in a Lotus has outperformed the rest and has earned and deserves to be mentioned. The Lotus is no where as fast as the RB, Ferrari or Maclaren, but Kimi is seating 3rd in the championship. With the available stats, there is no way Alonso can be mentioned as the outstanding driver with Kimi achievements.
    There is this feeling that Ferrari has had a poor car, which is very outlandish. Ferrari's race space has been 2nd all season only to Maclaren. There is a trade-off between qualifying setup & race pace, and Ferrari chose to set up their car for race space rather than qualifying. This was a choice. On the other hand RB chose the qualifying setup. Lets take the Abu Dhabi race into perspective where RB changed the setup of SV car for race pace. RBR showed that cars can be setup for either of the 2 strategies, but they'd usually prefer their qualifying strategy as SV knows just how to bring home the car from the front row better than any other driver on the grid.
    Now the question we should be asking is why dont Ferrari/Alonso think they can challenge RBR/SV from the front row if they setup their car for quali? My gut feeling is that they are scared Ferrari/SV will dissipate them. Ill give credit to Maclaren/Hamilton beacuse they have tried different strategies albeit technical failures, would have been challenging as well but most important would have been ahead of Ferrari/Alonso.

    SV is more deserving to be 2012 WDC

  • Comment number 50.

    All I would say on this is I can't wait until 2014 when it's rumoured they'll be team mates. My money is on Alonso to put Vettel firmly in his place when they're in equal cars...

    Slightly off topic, wouldn't LH have been better to stay with McLaren for another year then look for an RB seat when it's likely that Vettel will go to Ferrari and MW will call it a day? 2 vacant seats in the fastest car in F1...

  • Comment number 51.

    Any of the three (vettel alonso Hamilton) would be deserving winners. A bit unfair to say Vettel doesn't because he's had the fastest car. He's not been 'given the chance to have the slower car'. And when he has, arguably he has put in some great drives. Agree with Benson that Hamilton should be right up there too. Gun-to-head I would have to say alonso shades it but really, this is a magnificent era with 3 great drivers at the peak of their game.

  • Comment number 52.

    Some pretty rubbish comments here. Winning an F1 championship means having a successful team - it's not just about the driver. So whoever wins will "deserve" it, based on thier contribution (i.e. the driving) to the team effort over 20 races.

    Don't have any personal preference although think that it is Vettel's to lose (and probably has been for a few weeks now despite the closeness of the points).

  • Comment number 53.

    If we're arguing about who 'deserves' the championship you could make a case for Jenson Button. Yet again he's scored more points than Hamilton, supposedly the fastest driver in F1. Button's so good he doesn't need to drive fast, he can just think his way around the track. The way he looks after the car is genius.

  • Comment number 54.

    Not a Hamilton fan by any stretch of an imagination but I do think that had he been a little bit more lucky and Mclaren had got their act together, he would be leading at this stage. He has been in superb form and the car has been super fast barring a couple of races. Alonso's greatness is not just about this season, if you look back at the last few seasons, he is always there in the mix, despite inferior machinery. This in my opinion puts him above the rest of the drivers on the grid.

  • Comment number 55.

    Every article from Benson portrays Alonso as some immortal god of Formula One who can do no wrong. Belittling other drivers to further heighten Alonso's standing and quite frankly, it is rather sickening to read.

    Don't think there's any doubt, Alonso has driven the best this year in what has not always been a quick car (although it has definitely not been the dog of a car that others seem to believe). In my opinion he is very deserving of a third world title, as will Vettel if he so wins (although there's no doubt I believe that Vettel has been in the superior car). But Alonso is no choir boy, and Japan especially was his own fault for trying to run Raikkonen off the track...how anyone can't see this is beyond me.

    If only Kimi and Hamilton had the team strategists and reliability, respectively, to challenge for the title...

  • Comment number 56.

    No. 33 said exactly what I was thinking.

    Vettel is a solid driver in an amazing car. I wonder sometimes that the genius of Adrian Newey is slightly wasted on designing racing cars. Had he turned his mind to other modes of transport I have no doubt we'd all be commuting using jet packs and taking package holidays to Mars. Instead we get to watch Vettel glide around these tracks without a care in the world. Vettel is a solid driver but I can't remember him ever doing anything in a race that makes him worthy of the moniker "World Champion" - either this season or any other season.

    Alonso is an amazing driver in a solid car. I'm sure it's not nearly as bad as Ferrari would have us believe but any follower of F1 this year will have seen moments where the Ferrari (particularly in the hands of Massa) appears to drive like a bus. He has pulled results out less by being spectacular and more by being dogged and ruthlessly consistent over the year, and capitalising on the few tracks where his car has been more prancing horse then underfed nag. I had a bet with my Spanish brother-in-law at the beginning of the year that Hamilton would finish ahead of Alonso, and I just cannot believe that I've lost. Fair play to Alonso though, he's got himself into a title fight that I never thought he'd be in. It pains me to say it but he is definitely a worthy champion.

    I don't know about 'deserving', but I think it would be better for the sport for Alonso to win. It's been a while since we had a world champion who was a winner for reasons other than the machinery he drove.

  • Comment number 57.

    @38 lol are you in the f1 circuit are you driving an f1 car, the fact is alonso and Lewis along with vettel are regarded as the best three in f1 right now, alonso and LH are both high calibre drivers if they think vettel is below them than their right as they know each others ability, sour grapes I don't think so, dismiss seb's achievement I don't think so, aloso is a 2wdc champion if he goes to the net or if he watches any f1 news everyone one is saying he is more deserving, he could comfort from that as alonso said " vettel us not in the same level as Lewis" or as Lewis said "Do I put Sebastian in the same category as Fernando? I don't.

  • Comment number 58.

    im glad Fernando knows he cant imtimidate everyone and Kimi is great under pressure. i wonder he if still believes he can beat him?

    but yea he has done more this year for the title than Seb has done, till Redbull has got baq on track. that shows Alonso is the best driver of this era; the most complete...FORZA Alonso!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    @49 b223dy:-
    > ...Ferrari chose to set up their car for race space rather than qualifying.
    If Gary Anderson is to be believed (and he seems to know what he's talking about) that's not the case.

    According to him, Ferrari have a problem with the rear wing & diffuser which means they don't work too well when DRS is active - and DRS is used a lot in qually but not much in the race. Hence the Ferrari has problems in qually but good race pace.

    The aero problems with the Ferrari rear wing / diffuser / DRS combo probably stem from the wind tunnel correlation problems they've had since before the season started - other teams turn up with revised aero packages that get bolted on & just work. Ferrari seem to waste nearly every Friday testing aero bits that often don't work. They need to get their wind tunnel & CFD sorted.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'll wait to see who ends the year with the greater number of points, and then I'll be happy to declare that individual the more deserving.

  • Comment number 61.

    If "deserving" to win was the same as actually winning, they might as well do away with the races and have the drivers sit down to play a game of 'Top Trumps'.

  • Comment number 62.

    Both guys have said whomever has most points at the end will be a deserving champion. If you look at the remarks left by users on here though, probably 90% say Alonso is more deserving. Fact is the Ferrari has been, over the year, the third overall fastest car behind RB and Mclaren. Hell, for the first 4 or 5 races, Lotus, Sauber and Williams were as quick if not quicker than Ferrari! Alonso won his previous titles in Brazil - he'll do the same this time.

  • Comment number 63.

    Does anyone seriously believe that Vettel won't win the championship?

    Granted that's a different question from who deserves to win the championship.

  • Comment number 64.

    The Ferrari, in a straight line, has been one of the fastes on the grid so lets not pretend it is a real dog of a car. That saying though it has still been 3rd fastes overall on a lap. Fernando Alonso has managed to get that car further up the field than it should be, all you have to do is look at the difference in points between Alonso and Massa. Vettel, as pointed out in this article, only appears to be able to Win from the front and nothing has changed my opinion of that. I give him credit for the last race in the fact that, although luck played its part, you have to make the most of it and he did that fantastically well to finish 3rd.

    As for LH 3 times from the front his car has broken down and 2 times the pit crews have cost him and twice he has been taken out, so, as per the article he would also be there if not in front.

    Likewise, Kimi Raikonnen has outperformed where he should be and were it not for a few errors on Lotus's part, he would also be there.

    But, we only have 2 drivers in with a shot of the WDC, so we have to choose between them. For me, given his outstanding driving this year it has to be Alonso. For me, he has also grown into an all round racer and, if given the equipment, would win the WDC every year.

  • Comment number 65.

    There are more ifs and buts in this article than points on offer..The one with the most points deserves to be champion. End of story.

  • Comment number 66.

    Definitely a pretty ridiculous hypothetical blog and argument. If you apply the same logic to other individual sport like tennis, the article becomes even more of a joke. Agree with everyone who has said that there are way too many ifs and buts and whoever has more points at the end, deserves the title. Should we be going through every single tennis/golf tournament or every previous world championship and ask people who deserved the title?? Luck is part of sport and winners usually make their own luck!

  • Comment number 67.

    @ 53

    You are way off the mark there. BUT is currently 12 points behind HAM, so please get your facts right...

    Useless fact for 2012: Most laps in lead to date...

    VET - 327
    ALO - 216
    RAK - 44
    HAM - 201
    BUT - 108

  • Comment number 68.

    The driver with the most points at the end of this season deserves it. Some had better fortune than others during the season, but the very best also make their own luck.

    I'm a huge fan of Hamilton and Alonso, but there's no question in my mind Vettel is one of the very best. He may not come across as the classic 'warrior' that many of us enjoy watching, but his performance, relative to Webber, tells me everything I need to know about the guy.

    Truth is, winning in motorsport is a combination of car, team and driver. I'd be ecstatic if Alonso won, but I wouldn't begrudge Vettel or Red Bull for their efforts.

    P.S. special mention goes to Kimi/Renault. If they can sort out qualifying and gain a couple extra racing tenths next year, there could be another 'deserving' champion on the cards next year.

  • Comment number 69.

    It has been a fantastic season of F1 and I really hope the title will go to the last race. On pure driver skill, Alonso certainly deserves the title while Vettel has not has as strong a season as he did last year. F1 is the combination of man and machine and on that note, Red Bull have delivered while Ferrari haven't. despite the supreme driving skill of Alonso. When Alonso says he is fighting Adrian Newey as much as Vettel, he is right. Alonso does deserve to be champion but if Vettel does take the title, then I don't think anyone can complain as while the Red Bull has improved, so has Vettel. Should be a thrilling end to the season.

  • Comment number 70.

    For me Alonso has been the best driver this year as he has got the most out of the car he has been given. That said I don't necessarily think he is the most deserving of the Championship.

    Here's why: I believe that if you'd swapped the drivers at the start of the year, putting Alonso in the Ferrari and Vettel in the RB, you'd still be looking at a very similar equation right now.

    If you think about the start of the season when the RB was less competitive and therefore on more of a par with Ferrari, Vettel scored consistant points without winner a GP. Only when the car became the power-house it is now did he start winning. So it stands to reason that if Vettel had driven the Ferrari, he would have scored points still but struggled to win races much like Alonso.

    Basically my point is they're pretty evenly matched. In the RB Vettel will be world champion again, had Alonso had the RB he would have become World Champion. Both in the same car? What a race that would be!

  • Comment number 71.

    I will begin this by saying that I am a Ferrari fan. I think that seems fair that way.

    I think that Vettel is a great driver. He has done great things in the last 3 seasons. and the previous 2 seasons, he has been the out and out winner really..

    Ferrari, have had a few tough seasons.. (well, since 2007 really) some tougher than others and yet this one, has been pulled out of the bag. Ferrari have used excused (wind tunnel etc etc) as a fan, I would rather they just stood there, shrugged and said that they were not good enough, but nevertheless , we are up there.

    I think that this season has been good, Im not going to say about Ifs and Buts, because what is done is done.

    Both drivers would, im my opinion have qualities from this season that would make them worthy of taking the crown.
    As you know though, I am a Ferrari fan. so I would love to see alonso take it.
    still, having the numbers 3 and 4 on the cars next year, after a season like we have had this year, compared to the last few years.. Id be a proud fan

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

    It is the same as in any championship of a number of rounds. The one who deserves it most is the one who wins it. Luck tends to even itself out, but some are able to use good luck to the maximum. Technical failures are not bad luck, calling pitstops is strategic and tactical nous. As was starting Vettel from the pit lane at Abu-Dhabi.

    Rather than, who deserves it, why not ask, who has been the most exciting driver this year? For me, that has to be Vettel. He has shown that he is a true racer, with a steely streak. Now i am going to sit back and be shot down by all the Ferrari and Alonso fans out there!

  • Comment number 75.

    Vettel has had many more misfortunes than alonso. So the points lost by drivers is unaccurate. Than we go to the driving of alonso, yes he has driven incredibly well this year but he has had alot of luck from the retirements and problems of other drivers such as vettel, hamilton, button, grojean(valencia) and ect. He would have not won the races and got in the podiums as much i these things wouldnt have happened. And than the point where he doesnt have to fight his team mate because the team is backing him more than massa by giving him the better equipment and service, unlike vettel and hamilton where there team mates get the same service and equipment. Do be honest if any one of these drivers would have won vettel, alonso, hamilton. They would have deserved it. But you cant say i dont care if vettel wins alonso deserves it because vettel has had a tougher time this year than alonso. A car that is fully reliable and a team which blatantly chooses you over the team mate. The main thing is vettel is braking records at this age. Was alonso breaking the records that hes braking at his age? No.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think Senna's quote about Fangio says it best. "Every year there is a winner of the championship, but not necessarily a world champion. I think Fangio is the example of a true world champion". I think the same would be true of Alonso this year, but I think Vettel would just be a winner of the championship.

  • Comment number 77.

    Alonso of course and I do feel Hamilton deserves it as much. One other driver hasn't been mentioned: Schumacher. He would've led the championship I believe after 7 races had it not been for car troubles. I think that not only ruined his comeback but also diluted the championship in a way. Having Schumacher leading the championship early in the season would've created extra excitement.

  • Comment number 78.

    So after the absolute drubbing Benson got from the fans pointing out his anti Hamilton bias after Abu Dhabi Benson finally does an article not taking potshots at Hamilton for a change.

    I'm in no doubt it won't be long before the Hamilton hating mask slips again and he is spinning innocent comments from Hamilton into the next Hamilton bashing story.

    Ofcourse Hamilton should be considered a deserving champion but thanks to the incompetence of his team and Whitmarsh he finds himself only 12 points ahead of Jenson who it has to be said has had a poor season in general and for half of it was dire.

    It says a lot about the team when Hamilton having had a mistake free season driving arguably the best he ever has can only be 12 points ahead of Jenson who has been way under par in his driving.

  • Comment number 79.

    without a shadow of a doubt kimi raikkonen. he has outperformed his teammate, carried the team. poor updates, strategy and very poor straight line speed have cost him big. he has been consistently fast. alonso has been consistent bt his fast starts count for a lot and his wins were under mixed conditions. ppl say its a crap car bt he is the one that it was based on and for, massa had no say, alonso should gt his points half because the whole team works on his car, like in no other team. vettel has had a fast car with a bit of unluck bt he has outperformed his team mate significantly, four races in a row shows how good he is.

  • Comment number 80.

    I would second a call for the sparing a thought for Kimi. His win has been my favourite, just how relaxed and calm he was and how he underlined how important it was for the team rather than him. I would love if Lotus are up there next season making it even more interesting with Kimi.

    Never being LH's biggest fan, but he has suffered this season and not really his fault, but there have been seasons past when he has had it in place and let the team down. It's a two way relationship and bad seasons happen.

  • Comment number 81.

    why are people forgeting massa's team orders on alonso?

  • Comment number 82.

    Excellent drivers yes-fantastic or among the greatest-not by a country mile.
    As for who deserves the title most-another Benson stupid question. One or the other will win and if it is done on the track with both racing to the end of each race, then the winner will deserve it most-personalities have nothing to do with ti.

  • Comment number 83.

    Vettel!

  • Comment number 84.

    It has been a great season to watch and up until about germany it could have been one of 5 drivers potentially winning the championship. My heart says Alonso as he has shown greater skill in the races themselves but Vettel has been super consistent and never seems to put a foot wrong when out in front "the schumacher of old". I think the last 2 GP'S will be topsy turvy as the Austin track is new to everyone bar running in simulator's andi think accidents will happen. Brazil has a habit of raining on race day so again it could be a hard race to call . Everything to play for.

  • Comment number 85.

    Adrian Newey/Red Bull will be deserving winners, Sebastian Vettel wouldn't be.

    Fernando Alonso would be a deserving winner, Ferrari wouldn't be.

    Lewis Hamilton would have made a deserving winner, McLaren wouldn't have done.

    That neatly sums up the performance of those drivers/teams in 2012.

  • Comment number 86.

    Alonso comes across as a nasty person and a bad team player. He may be a talented driver, but I can't support him. Hamilton proved himself a better driver than Alonso when they had the same cars.

  • Comment number 87.

    Why must there ALWAYS be a reference to Hamilton? Oh, "Vettel inherited his win in Singapore from Hamilton's retirement." Big deal. Retirements happen all the time in F1, and if Vettel won in Singapore, he won in Singapore. There is no need to try to force Hamilton into the picture. He's down there somewhere in the pecking order for a reason: he has not been good enough.

  • Comment number 88.

    @86 I'm not going to turn this into an Alonso v Hamilton debate because i happen to think that they are the 2 best drivers of their generation, but i dont see how you can say one is a bad team player when your the object of your fanboy-desires has previously been found guilty of lying to stewards, dissed team-mates, posted confidential team data on twitter....

  • Comment number 89.

    I do get a bit weary of the ‘dark, brooding, humourless,’ image beloved of many British F1 commentators regarding Fernando Alonso, so I’m pleased to read, Andrew, that you haven’t joined those ranks and mention at least a dry wit (although naturally used to evil intent against his rivals)!
    Anyway, who ‘deserves’ to win the WDC 2012? Well, quite a lot of drivers suffering the wretched outcomes of having an inferior car, amongst whom was one Fernando Alonso, and, by the summer break, one Sebastian Vettel; but then he wasn’t leading the WDC in August, was he? Not even 2nd or 3rd as I remember.
    But, after a month’s break RBR, utilising the genius of A. Newey, gets its act together and lo and behold SV’s 10 points ahead now!
    So, in the usual manner of things in sport, if you get the most points you ‘deserve’ the win/ title. Well done SV (I think it is going to be him).
    It can be argued that since WDCs have been won by one or even half a point in the past, ‘deserving’ who should be the WDC has been questionable on more occasions than 2012.
    But, there are definite rumblings about this year’s drivers’ award, a sense of ‘wrongness’, that are appearing on many pages and web sites. Perhaps it’s because it would be the third time in succession for RBR and one of its drivers.
    We’ve been here before, 2000 – 2004 with Schumacher & Ferrari for example, although I do think, in that case, the competition amongst the drivers diminished after Hakkinen left F1.
    It’s a real problem for the sport when you get a team with a car that simply leaves the rest of the field standing on most occasions and a driver who’s capable of capitalising on that advantage (as I think it would be fair to say Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen, and maybe others would have done). It does beg the question Why have a drivers’ World Championship award at all? If it’s all a team effort, why not just have a team award?
    Because we like to have human heroes in sport not just machines, so for me, there’s no question that Fernando Alonso should be awarded the (newly instigated) Driver of the Year Award 2012!

  • Comment number 90.

    @87,

    If you had WATCHED F1 this season, you would know for yourself that Hamilton has delivered in a quick McLaren car. He has won three races, for starters. He was also leading three races when his McLaren gave up on him i.e failures of a car which has proved quick but ultimately unreliable. You keeping up? Three plus three equals six. Six race wins (alongside a number of other podium finishes) is usually enough for a WDC.

    So the following statement is stupid. And false.

    "He's down there somewhere in the pecking order for a reason: he has not been good enough."

    You've either not watched F1 this season or you're too biased to acknowledge that Hamilton has driven well. Or put another way for you - Hamilton has been plenty "good enough" but the McLaren team and car have not.

  • Comment number 91.

    Vettel for me and after starting from last position 2 weeks ago to finish 3rd.the man never gave up and only for Button holding him up he might have won it

  • Comment number 92.

    Another Benson blog, another Hamilton love declaration.

  • Comment number 93.

    In one sense Vettel deserves it because they have had the most consistent driver/car package overall but even though I'm not an Alonso fan I feel he deserves it because he has had to work hardest in terms of his driving so I'd be happy with Red bull getting the WCC and Alonso getting the WDC.

  • Comment number 94.

    Most people keep on talking about how Vettel has a better car. i personally think it's irrelevant. He has driven well and he deserves to be where he is(on top of the pile). the complain about him only not being able to overtake. he proves he can and everyone says it's LUCK. weber has got the same car (only won a race in 2011 which vettel dominated) and i don't see him right there fighting with vettel for the championship. vettel has delievered and deserves to be where he is (constantly grinding out fastest laps and driving with little or no mistakes).
    Alonso is no doubt good but he complains everyday about having a bad car, when his engineer said he had not gotten the best out of his car in qualifying he is disgusted. thinks he is the best.
    Writing vettel does not deserve the championship is unfair and an insult to his abilities and achievements.
    youngest driver to win a F1 race (Torro rosso)
    youngest (double) champion

    cut this guy a slack!

  • Comment number 95.

    #3 Im not dis-agreeing with your choice. I agree Alonso has done better as his car is not in the top 2. However, its a bit unfair to say Vettel can only win with a good car. He did pretty well at Toro Rosso didn't he in the Italian GP.
    Maybe one day when Vettel can do what Schumacher & Alonso have done (and what Lewis Hamilton is doing) and go to a team that needs development we will see what hes really got.

  • Comment number 96.

    I support Red Bull. I'm going to be up front with that. But on that note, I think Alonso deserves the title. 1. He's consistent. 2. The F2012 is not as good a car as the RB8. Remember at the start of the year?

  • Comment number 97.

    93.
    At 17:09 14th Nov 2012, straight talker wrote:

    In one sense Vettel deserves it because they have had the most consistent driver/car package overall but even though I'm not an Alonso fan I feel he deserves it because he has had to work hardest in terms of his driving so I'd be happy with Red bull getting the WCC and Alonso getting the WDC.
    _______________________________

    I would agree with that.

    The WCC was never in doubt. Massa doesn't score enough points to give Ferrari a chance and McLaren have had a lot of reliability issues and some terrible pit stops and strategy decisions throughout the season.

  • Comment number 98.

    Unluckiest driver - Maldonado
    Best driver - Karthikayn

  • Comment number 99.

    @80. bechampion wrote:
    Never being LH's biggest fan, but he has suffered this season and not really his fault, but there have been seasons past when he has had it in place and let the team down. It's a two way relationship and bad seasons happen.
    -------------------------------

    This is a common misconception those who don't closely follow F1 are brainwashed to believe from the Hamilton bashing media.

    Last year Hamilton got involved in a fair few incidents which the media focused on but there has been no focus given to the numerous team pitstop and strategy blunders from the team that put Hamilton down the field in the first place and left him in a position where he tried too hard to recover from the poor position the team put him in.

    The shambolic performance from the McLaren team has been going on for two years now. The only reason why people are only now noticing it is because Hamilton has driven amazingly well and not made any mistakes and this has really exposed the team.

    Thats also left the media with nothing to say about Hamilton's driving which is also the reason why they have switched their attacks on him to character assassination instead.

  • Comment number 100.

    Adrian Newey deserves the title.........still don't think much of Vettel, pity Hamilton's not joining Red Bull next year then we could tell as he's still the best.

 

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