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Pressure mounts on Webber most of all

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Jonathan Legard | 15:21 UK time, Friday, 12 November 2010

Mark Webber, typically, cut to the chase when weighing up what could be the weekend of his life with a colleague.

"It's simple, mate," he said. "Put it on pole, then disappear!"

As long as Fernando Alonso, the championship leader, finishes third or worse behind the Australian in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it would be that simple.

Webber would be champion, with no need for a last-lap shuffle from team-mate Sebastian Vettel, and Red Bull would have completed a deserved double entirely in keeping with chief technical officer Adrian Newey's magnificent RB6 design.

But little in this switchback season has been straightforward - particularly at Red Bull, where Vettel could have wrapped up the title some races ago had he had greater reliability.

Instead, he and his older team-mate find themselves chasing Alonso who, remember, was 47 points off the lead following the British Grand Prix in July.

"All the pressure is on Red Bull this weekend," according to one team manager with recent championship success. "And the biggest load is on Webber.

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"He's not a young driver and you don't get many chances like this. Vettel will have many more days to challenge for the title. The team clearly back him."

"As for Fernando, he's been there already - twice."

Webber's outburst about his team's lack of driver equality before the last race in Brazil was interpreted by many as evidence that he's feeling the heat.

And those same observers viewed his quiet, reserved performance here in front of the world's media alongside his three rivals as another display of nerves.

Contrast his demeanour with Vettel's front row smiles, they were saying last night.

Consider Alonso's matter-of-fact handling of any barbed team orders related probing and Hamilton's back row cheeriness: "The guys in front of me have everything to lose, so for me I'm going to be flat out as always."

Hamilton's role could be a significant curve-ball if he can repeat his pole-winning lap of last year. But let's stay with Webber for the moment.

A one-time Jaguar official who worked with the Australian at the team and still works within Formula 1 gave me an interesting slant on his comments in Brazil.

"Mark seems to need to rev himself up, needs to feel he's got to fight something," my source said.

"He's a strong character and a good driver but for some reason he doesn't always show it unless he's gets himself wound up."

Red Bull's Mark Webber

Will Webber keep his nerve in Abu Dhabi? Photo: Getty Images

His race-winning performance at Silverstone was a case in point. Vettel got the only new, surviving front wing off Webber's car before qualifying.

The Aussie got the hump. But he also got the victory - fast and furious to the end.
That was in the middle of his purple patch which continued until the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August, when he was second to Hamilton.

Webber has not been on pole since then, and has not won a race since Hungary, the grand prix before Spa. He has been out-qualified by his team-mate at the last five events.

He lost valuable points by crashing in Korea, where he also lost the lead in the championship - which he had held for the longest period of anyone this season - to the driver he rates the strongest on the grid, Alonso.

So it is easy to see why so many in the F1 paddock believe Webber faces the greatest challenge of all the contenders this weekend to fulfil an ambition that's been losing momentum at the wrong time.

Essentially, it's now or never.

Even Webber admitted on Thursday that age is against him to enjoy more opportunities like this.

Indeed, one leading driver manager even suggested to me that, whatever happened this weekend, Webber's position at Red Bull was untenable.

"If he's champion, he should get out at the top. If he doesn't win the title, then why would he want to be in a team where he feels his team-mate is being treated differently?" he said.

By contrast, the Alonso Fan Club nodded sagely at the Spaniard's cool fatalism yesterday.

"I will not have anything to be disappointed about in 2010," Alonso said.

"This first year of the relationship we are fighting for the world championship in the last race against two Red Bulls who are dominating by far in terms of speed so overall I don't think it matters on Sunday."

Um, really?

Make no mistake, Alonso and Ferrari will be going all out to win the title on Sunday, however much they make out it would be an unexpected bonus.

But this chance has been as much to do with Red Bull's fallibility as Ferrari's remarkable recovery from a desperate mid-season slump which was threatening to turn the screw on team principal Stefano Domenicali.

If anybody can drive to a title-winning script on Sunday to join a select club including previous three time winners like Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda and Sir Jackie Stewart, it is Alonso.

He is the man in front, with the experience of his 2005 and 2006 triumphs, seemingly able to work out the points as effortlessly as the strategy.

Above all, he knows that his rivals all have to beat him on the track to have a chance of the 2010 championship, whereas he could do the job even if he failed to finish through a mistake or a breakdown.

Vettel, who must have nightmares about that engine failure when leading in Korea, has appeared like a man who will be driving more in hope than expectation of coming first or second to have any chance of becoming F1's youngest champion.

The prospect of waving through Webber has not fazed him because both of them know their first priority is getting ahead, and staying ahead of Alonso before any switch comes into the equation.

And that is where Lewis Hamilton fits in.

He accepts that he is clearly the outsider of the four contenders; 24 points off the lead, he's all but written off his chances

But if the McLaren performs like last year - extra straight-line speed from the F-duct instead of last year's Kers power boost - on Abu Dhabi's two big straights, the 2008 champion could be the joker in the championship pack.

Hamilton gave a hint of what might be in the offing with his pace in second practice, especially in the final sector where he was supreme.

Another McLaren pole position backed up by race reliability, and those carefully prepared championship permutations at Red Bull and Ferrari will be crucial props in a juggling act which could keep us guessing until the final lap of the final race of this momentous season.

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:20pm on 12 Nov 2010, Teflonso the King of Motorsport wrote:

    I see Alonso getting pole position and leading from start to finish with Vettel on his tail just like in Singapore. Viva Alonso!

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  • 2. At 4:22pm on 12 Nov 2010, 9mrstorres wrote:

    I cannot wait for the GP on sunday!
    Think Alonso will get it in the end, with one of the Red Bull's not finishing due to an engine failure..

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  • 3. At 4:45pm on 12 Nov 2010, parks111 wrote:

    I would love to see Hamilton get on pole for the final grand prix. Everyone is assuming it will be a 3 way fight at the front between Alonso, Webber and Vettel but I think Hamilton could really throw a spanner in the works by getting in front of them, fastest in practice and according to this site the track might just suit the mclaren. Not sure how the points situation would differ but it would be great to see a genuine scrap for the title between the three main protaganists with Vettel, Webber and Alonso being forced into making big moves to achieve the ultimate prize.

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  • 4. At 4:51pm on 12 Nov 2010, Sunlight_on_the_Garden wrote:

    I hope Lewis can upset the apple cart with a pole tomorrow - given his pace in FP2, it wouldn't be that surprising. Alonso's engine blows up on Sunday, Vettel takes out Webber and is then passed by Button for second, which secured Lewis the title. Seriously, though, I believe Mark deserves it most this year. Hopefully, he can keep his cool over the weekend and snatch it!

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  • 5. At 4:52pm on 12 Nov 2010, riiseuk wrote:

    I can't see anything other than an Alonso win, and now it seems Hamilton will be up there this just plays into Alonso's hands even more. What a great race it will be though.

    On a side note, Jonathan can you try to get the drivers names right this weekend please?

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  • 6. At 4:53pm on 12 Nov 2010, manu4triple wrote:

    I wonder when Hamilton gets on pole what he would be thinking. Of course he would love a grand prix win but would equally hate alonso to get a thrid world title. Assuming vettel and webber were 2nd and 3rd do you think he would let them through... It would stop alonso and ferrari winning the world championship so I hope he does!

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  • 7. At 4:54pm on 12 Nov 2010, gohavesometea wrote:

    So maybe Red Bull pulled off some clever management by seeming to back Vettel to motivate Webber to go flat out? In which case maybe Horner should openly back Vettel for the championship now ;-)

    Hope Webber feels the heat and uses it to get fired up and win!

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  • 8. At 4:57pm on 12 Nov 2010, M1gg1ns wrote:

    anyone but Webber, he's had the fastest and most reliable car for a season and a half and still needs favors, will be the least deserving champion ever.

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  • 9. At 5:06pm on 12 Nov 2010, gohavesometea wrote:

    8. At 4:57pm on 12 Nov 2010, M1gg1ns wrote:
    anyone but Webber, he's had the fastest and most reliable car for a season and a half and still needs favors, will be the least deserving champion ever.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Webber's car is faster than Vettel's? So contrary to popular belief Red Bull have been backing Webber over his team mate all season.

    Favors? As in possibly having his team mate let him past? Yeah, that would be wrong wouldn't it?

    I'm assuming when you say anyone but Webber that would include Alonso because clearly he hasn't needed any 'favors'...

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  • 10. At 5:07pm on 12 Nov 2010, wilkybe wrote:

    After Fp2 seeing how close the top 3 in the championship are i think qually will be great with hamilton on pole then vettel and alonso and webber on the second row but watch out for button too, As far as race day goes vettel needs a win he'll crash into hamilton leaving webber and alonso and kubica on the podium making alonso champion

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  • 11. At 5:08pm on 12 Nov 2010, SupaSix-1 wrote:

    Hi jonathon, I can see that you conveniently left out button's terrible performance.

    If the roles were reversed and it was Lewis in jensons position and jenson in lewis' position, you'd be adding certain swipes about how Lewis has been out performed by his team mate.

    Also jonathon...please please please stop giving lewis too much of a hard time. Its so obvious you and the rest of the beeb team prefer jenson that the obviousness is really showing on TV - The lack of impartiality from you all makes you all look very unprofessional - dont ruin it for yourselves. I know that its difficult especially when you are being wined and dined by jenson - But your reputations are at stack...and btw Lewis is also british too.

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  • 12. At 5:10pm on 12 Nov 2010, SupaSix-1 wrote:

    Sorry, I was meant to say....'But your reputations are at stake...or more aptly...steak'!

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  • 13. At 5:38pm on 12 Nov 2010, gohavesometea wrote:

    @SupaSix-1
    This was a blog about Webber being under the most pressure of the driver's chasing the championship. Button is out of that race, why should Jonathan mention him in the blog?
    There are two good reasons to mention Hamilton;
    1) he is mathematically in with a chance of the WDC.
    2) as pointed out in the blog he was fastest in practise and will have a chance to 'throw a spanner in the works' for the other three protagonists.

    Button's omission would suggest that the writer does not think he will have a significant impact in this race, hardly a positive bias, and then the writer also said this of Hamilton...

    "Hamilton gave a hint of what might be in the offing with his pace in second practice, especially in the final sector where he was supreme."

    Unless you have a different definition of the word supreme I would hardly call that giving Lewis a hard time.

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  • 14. At 5:54pm on 12 Nov 2010, andy j wrote:

    Its going to Be GREAT...an awesome race,Joanthon please please can you put some energy into generating some excitment in this race, you can do it! its the last day of term...come on get up there, get enthusiastic, its going to be brilliant i really dont want to have to keep switching to Radio 5 live to get some excitment as I love listening to MB.. Come on Lewis & Web the only two worthy champions, of other two one has a puppet as a team mate & the other has all the team backing...

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  • 15. At 5:58pm on 12 Nov 2010, AJG07 wrote:

    @SupaSix-1 - I second exactly what gohavesometea says... there's no reasoning for your rant here!

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  • 16. At 6:47pm on 12 Nov 2010, iammatt484 wrote:

    Prediction for Qauli:
    1 - Vettel
    2- Hamilton
    3 - Webber
    4 - Alonso
    5 - Kubica
    6 - Button

    I can see Vettel winning the race(urgh), Webber taking second, Hamilton third and Alonso fourth (and therefore the title).

    I personally really want Webber to take the title though.

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  • 17. At 6:56pm on 12 Nov 2010, Jorge wrote:

    Isn't life strange? ...the world's second best F1 racer (HAM) may contribute to consolidate his archrival's (ALO's) dominance as a triple World Champ!!

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  • 18. At 7:03pm on 12 Nov 2010, Beawulff wrote:

    Good to see Lewis mix it up in practice, hopefully he will do the same in qualy.

    Question: Is it true Webber was given Vettel's chassis which had a crack in it? And before that Webber was sometimes beating Vettel, but since then Webber hasn't won a single pole, I'd like to know more.

    I support them all, and most of all look forward to a great race, but would like to see Webber this year's WDC.

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  • 19. At 7:04pm on 12 Nov 2010, Sean wrote:

    If Red Bull had backed Webber, they would have had this wrapped up by now. I honestly don't get it.

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  • 20. At 7:22pm on 12 Nov 2010, shokkie wrote:

    This has been a truely gripping season. I have only started watching F1 this year and been held by every moment, every corner.
    Good luck Hamilton and Webber, may the best man win...

    Also, Jonathon, excellent coverage and comments for you and the whole BBC team. I've enjoyed all the insight and special reports. Roll on 2011!

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  • 21. At 7:59pm on 12 Nov 2010, PHStenning wrote:

    Beawulff - where did you hear that? Vettel had a crack in his chassis earlier in the year, but there's no suggestion they gave it to Webber.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8695692.stm

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  • 22. At 8:06pm on 12 Nov 2010, ace_johnson wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 8:10pm on 12 Nov 2010, helen cheshire wrote:

    In defence of all JONATHANS out there, please remember... 1o 2as no other way! Hope Mark wins the DWC, he deserves it. Juicy senario.....Last lap, Lewis,Mark,Alonso, boy could Lewis have the last laugh by letting Mark through!

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  • 24. At 8:20pm on 12 Nov 2010, Peter wrote:

    A couple of you have referred to what this blog misses completely: LH winning plays right into Alonso's hands. Barring an incident he is bound to finish in the top 5, and that's enough if neither of his main rivals win. It would entirely be deserved, despite the free points he got from the infamous team orders, because RB have had the best car all season, and he has shown time and again that he is comprehensively quicker than Massa (an almost champion) unlike either of the main rival teams.

    Of the rest of the field, IMNSHO only LH & Vettel have the ability to match his achievements, but both have yet to prove that they actually can - all those car failures and accidents aren't coincidence you know.

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  • 25. At 8:22pm on 12 Nov 2010, Peter wrote:

    I should add, with regard to who can match Alonso, that I refer to those with a chance to win this year. There are several young drivers, in weaker teams, who bear watching.

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  • 26. At 8:22pm on 12 Nov 2010, riiseuk wrote:

    @23 hellf1nuts, you are seriously mis-guided. Hamilton will be concentrating on winning the race. He is not going to want to put himself through all the aggro of FIA investigations plus the bad press. If Hamilton is leading he will do all he can to win the race. Grow up and get in the real world.

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  • 27. At 8:25pm on 12 Nov 2010, Peter wrote:

    P.S. I don't think LH would be so stupid as to let a rival pass him on the last lap. He's made a couple of similar stupid decisions in the past (vis-a-vis not being honest), and I sincerely hope that he has learnt his lesson. One thing you have to say for JB, I can't even conceive of him taking such an action.

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  • 28. At 9:08pm on 12 Nov 2010, Chat wrote:

    It is a great finale, no doubt. Great F1 season. But, in the end, Mclaren let its drivers race each other. Red Bull did the same. Ferrari did not. That leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Ferrari can go on about team sprit, etc. But this is an individual sport as far as I am concerned. If Alonso wins, will he be the true F1 champ. No way. If Webber wins because Vettal lets him through, and Alonso loses out, it will still be bad, but not as bad as Alonso winning, because then both would have won one fradulent win. Fairer. The best will be if Hamilton or Vettel win with no help from others. I hope that happens, but I am not very confident. For the sake of credibility, F1 needs to eliminate team orders, both explicit AND implicit.

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  • 29. At 9:23pm on 12 Nov 2010, veloist wrote:

    What I want to see is Vettel leading with Webber behind him and going away from Alonso. Would Alonso deliberately drop back to fifth a lap or two from the finish and mess with Vettel's head? Vettel would then have to either give up his World Championship winning position to Webber or win the race and see if Alonso can overtake whoever is in 4th in the final few turns?? Brilliant!

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  • 30. At 10:49pm on 12 Nov 2010, Reid wrote:

    Still haven't seen any figures that show Vettel can win if Alonso is 5th.
    Both, that I can see, will have 5 wins apiece and are dead level on count-backs to number of seconds and thirds

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  • 31. At 11:48pm on 12 Nov 2010, gohavesometea wrote:

    I kind of have to agree with Thorsson to a degree about the drivers although a little begrudgingly as Alonso has really not been a favorite of mine, at least not since beating Schumi ;-) He has grown on me this season though, difficult not to have respect for his skills. Hamilton is an awesome driver regardless of what his detractors says about his privileges in the sport and I believe he will win more WDCs. Vettel probably will win at least one WDC but it's tough to say he's a 'great' unless you are willing to put Webber in the same bracket since his margin over Webber is microscopic. As for the youngsters coming through I have thoroughly enjoyed Kobayshi's driving this season as well as the likes of Kubica, Sutil, Hulkenberg and Rosberg... the future for F1 looks really good :-)

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  • 32. At 11:56pm on 12 Nov 2010, juventino wrote:

    30. At 10:49pm on 12 Nov 2010, canchaz wrote:
    Still haven't seen any figures that show Vettel can win if Alonso is 5th.
    Both, that I can see, will have 5 wins apiece and are dead level on count-backs to number of seconds and thirds

    if alonso and vettel finish level on points vettel would win the wdc having more 4th place finishes. hopefully it won't come down to that. forza alonso!

    kubica to ferrari in 2012 to partner alonso.. two best drivers in f1

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  • 33. At 00:11am on 13 Nov 2010, kwinquark1 wrote:

    I predict a riot................

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  • 34. At 00:13am on 13 Nov 2010, JS4119 wrote:

    If the F-Duct is on form Button might be in the mix too. I think the RB's are probably going to vanish off at the front, they're both in an all or nothing position, they've wrapped up the constructors and their engines are done for the year so they're free to drive like loonies. So are the other drivers in all fairness, but the RB6 has been hands down the fastest car this year. If I'm right (there's a first time for everything) that leaves a shootout between the Ferraris and the McLarens, I rate Button over Massa this season and it'll be interesting to see if he can get one over on 'Nando tomorrow. Whatever happens I think it's going to be a great finish to a great season, I'm so pleased things picked up from the snorefest of Bahrain.

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  • 35. At 02:29am on 13 Nov 2010, karting_george wrote:

    Great banter here, 4 drivers in with a chance, it’s going to be one hell of a race Sunday! Being a Hamilton fan, I would love to see him take the crown against all odds! Imagine Alonso gets caught up in crash, Vettel has one of his moments and the redbull leaves Webber down! But the brain says Webber or Alonso should take the title... unfortunately

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  • 36. At 03:19am on 13 Nov 2010, Jorge wrote:

    Yes, this is most likely for Weber or Alonso (...I am happy to say).

    BTW, give Rosberg a winning car and he'll prove that he is the best German F1 racer, easily. Probably the only guy able to compete with ALO & HAM on equal terms.

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  • 37. At 06:02am on 13 Nov 2010, Belgian_Biscuit wrote:

    My view of 2 of the points that have been raised...

    1) if its running Vettel, Webber, Alonso then of course Vettel will let Webber past on last lap. It would be madness not to - since Vettel is going to be in the team a long time - we he want to be remembered as the guy who cost the team a first drivers' title?

    2) Hamilton wouldn't let anyone by if he's leading. He doesn't care enough who wins the drivers' title to throw away a win for him and the team... people who are suggesting he would don't understand what truly motivates drivers and teams.

    As a Dubai resident I'm just about to hop in the car for the drive to Yas Marinas - we couldn't have hoped for a more exciting finale!!!

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  • 38. At 07:57am on 13 Nov 2010, adtrad wrote:

    @Hugh - #37.

    Didn't you used to listen to the cricket and send cake to Brian Johnston?

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  • 39. At 08:38am on 13 Nov 2010, lalakaka wrote:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this season, and will miss F1 till its return in March!

    However, I feel cynical about this finale. Racing drivers are so programmed to win, is it really likely Hamilton or Vettel would think of the permutations while driving?

    I admit my cynicism goes deeper. I keep thinking of Eddie Irvine in 1999 and how Ferrari did not back him strongly enough to win the WDC, as the future of the team was shaped around Schumacher, who could not win that year due to injuries. They were keen to have Schumi as their champion of the new age... There are echoes of this in Red Bull, stating the future of the team is going to be around Vettel -- would they want anyone else to win, especially as they have the constructors?

    Much as I try to be egalitarian, I really really hope if Alonso wins, he does it by more than seven points this year. He has been outstanding in the second half of the season, which makes the Hockenheim situation all the more ridiculous. He didn't need the help.

    So, that leaves me cheering for who I see as the underdogs -- Webber and Hamilton. At the end of the day, as long as it's good racing, I'm pretty happy (so I hope this track is modified for more passing in the future).

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  • 40. At 09:02am on 13 Nov 2010, Sparky wrote:

    I am pretty sure that Hamilton will go out with a fight....a true "racer". As for the WDC, Webber is my man seeing that it's near enough impossible for Hammy to win it. Webber has been the most consistent, and has had to go through the season feeling as though he is the #2 driver!!!

    Very exciting season, and let's hope the next one is even better.

    Go Lewis...............

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  • 41. At 09:17am on 13 Nov 2010, mark1968 wrote:

    I hope webber wins as it really is his one and only chance to do so as I think he will not be racing for RB regardless next year and any other team would be a backwards step at his age. I also wonder if Webber really wants to win the title if it is gifted to him by Vettel. For the rest of his life he will be reminded that he was given the title. I think he would rather lose in those circumstances if he can't beat Vettel fair and square, but maybe I'm wrong as a WC title is pretty hard to resist no matter how you get it.

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  • 42. At 09:43am on 13 Nov 2010, _MikKar_ wrote:

    A very attractive scenario would be Vettel barging Alonso over, thus both drivers would retire, that would leave Hamilton and Webber to fight it out between each-other, which would be pretty cool.

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  • 43. At 10:50am on 13 Nov 2010, zilla62 wrote:

    Pity that Alonso, with his deserved lead in the Championship cannot show a little decorum. It is fair to say that if there were a poll (on who people would like to see win the World Title) now, Alonso would finish a distant fourth in the wishes of those of us who enjoy the sport.
    Good luck to Lewis and Mark.

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  • 44. At 11:56am on 13 Nov 2010, whathappenedtohakkinen wrote:

    As the season draws to a conclusion I think it is pertinent to comment upon the quite gripping nature of this years Formula 1 World Championship. I recall all the hype that surrounded it before the season opening event in Bahrain, with the possibility of a close fought championship featuring the likes of Hamilton, Button, Alonso, Schumacher and the Red Bulls proving particularly intriguing and for the most part, I feel that this years Drivers World Championship has lived up to it.
    Granted, very little overtaking ever actually takes place between those drivers who occupy the podium positions, however the nature of the points standings has ensured that the battle for the championship has remained closely fought throughout.
    Although Abu Dhabi is perhaps not the most appropriate track on which to hold a 'title-decider' given the heavy emphasis it places upon spectacle rather than genuine motor-racing, it will be very interesting to observe the way in which the race unfolds if qualifying positions are reflected by those of FP3 i.e. 1. Vettel 2. Webber 3. Hamiliton 4. Alonso
    Unlike Brazil, one would expect Hamilton to be much more competitive, given that the McLaren is much more suited to the Abu Dhabi circuit than it was at Interlagos. Furthermore, Hamilton will want to finish his season on a high note and putting Alonso in his place would certianly help him achieve that.
    As for the Red Bulls, I do not think that Mark Webber is the kind of man, nor comeptitor, who would wish to secure something as prestigous as a World Drivers Championship by way of the charity. Especially from his archest of enemies.
    Despite the points deficit to ALonso, Red Bull have every chance to win the World Drivers Championship given the superiority of their package, however, with this superirity comes expectation which subsequently imparts great pressure upon the team. The cool, calm, calculated and cynical head of Fernando Alonso will therefore ultimately prevail.

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  • 45. At 12:54pm on 13 Nov 2010, wimsegers wrote:

    Championship would be even more close with old points system (10 / 8 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 1) !!! Especially for Hamilton !!

    Current standings:
    1. Alonso - new points system: 246 points - old points system: 99 points
    2. Webber - new points system: 238 points - old points system: 96 points
    3. Vettel - new points system: 231 points - old points system: 94 points
    4. Hamilton - new points system: 222 points - old points system: 92 points

    So for the top 3 the new point system doesn't change a thing:
    - Alonso is still champion if he finishes top 2 !
    - Webber is still champion if he wins and Alonso is third or worse !
    - Vettel is still champion if he wins and Alonso isn't top 4 !

    But for Hamilton there is a difference !!! With the old points system Hamilton would be champion if:
    Hamilton wins - Alonso isn't top 6 (instead of out the top 10 !) - Webber isn't top 3 (instead of out of top 5) - Vettel isn't top 2 (remains the same).

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  • 46. At 2:24pm on 13 Nov 2010, PoolQ wrote:

    although the new points system in f1 this year has been intresting and the drive who has won the most races has ended up at the top going into the last race if we still had the old points sytem the excitment levels for the last race would be crazy.
    just worked out what the top drivers points would of been...
    webber 94
    alonso 93
    vettel 92
    ...hamilton 92
    with button on 81 and unable to win
    totally crazy and shows stupid eccelston should not of messed with a system that worked perfectly!!

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  • 47. At 3:24pm on 13 Nov 2010, _MikKar_ wrote:

    Hmm, Mark starting just behind Fernando, his only chance is to overtake him at the start and leave him for dead there, so I think we can expect some dramatic action tomorrow at the start of the grand-prix on Turn 1. Vettel will probably have an easier race but Hamilton seems to have unusually better pace this weekend so he might just pass him on the one of the straights but that's not a given at all. Jenson is the one who might just upset a few people tomorrow, hopefully he'll choose the right ones to upset.

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  • 48. At 3:52pm on 13 Nov 2010, Laroja wrote:

    "Pity that Alonso, with his deserved lead in the Championship cannot show a little decorum. It is fair to say that if there were a poll (on who people would like to see win the World Title) now, Alonso would finish a distant fourth in the wishes of those of us who enjoy the sport."
    -----------
    Says who? If you follow British media you might get that impression, but as much some British people might like to think, the world doesn´t finish in the UK and believe me, Alonso has people supporting him all over the world. So I don´t know how you came to that conclusion. And since that poll hasn´t happened it´s all pure speculation, anyway.

    Sooo, with so many people predictiong and it seems no one got it right.
    1.Vettel
    2.Hamilton
    3.Alonso
    4.Button
    5.Webber

    After all it´s been said about the RB´s one-two and the so much talked about swap in teh final lap is unlikely to be needed.

    Barring crash or mechanical failure, the DWC is Alonso´s. And if he has problems, Vettel has the better chance to grab it. I am sorry for Webber, really. So near, yet so far. But Alonso has been showing some class. My money is on him.

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  • 49. At 5:41pm on 13 Nov 2010, Jorge wrote:

    To: #46. "PoolQ" ...do yourself a favour and buy a new calculator (or learn to use it).

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  • 50. At 5:46pm on 13 Nov 2010, Jorge wrote:

    Interesting to see that there are very few comments today: No more on Team Orders here and there, whether Vettel should allow himself to be overtaken on the last lap, etc., etc.,

    ...I suspect that the "usual suspects" are sulking.

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  • 51. At 6:01pm on 13 Nov 2010, luqa64 wrote:

    Webber had it in his own hands and has chocked. I just hope LH maintains his cool for once and doesn't pull a Silverstone on Vettel when he sliced his rear tire from behind, forcing a pit stop. But with his Kamikaze approach to first laps and the occasional brain fade, he just might hand the title to his good "buddy" FA.
    Assuming all engines hold, realistically, Webber is out of it- unless he can pull some magic out of the hat to get by Button, Alonso and Hamilton which is unlikely. It's unlikely he would have a go at FA potentially taking them both out in order to help SV, which seems a bit hypocritical, since if he were directly behind a leading SV with a chasing FA, Seb had already hinted he would do the right thing for the team on more than one occasion.. BRING IT ON!!

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  • 52. At 7:09pm on 13 Nov 2010, fcd wrote:

    Vettel to crash!
    Same for Webber!
    Alonso engine failuare!

    Hamilton to win!

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  • 53. At 7:57pm on 13 Nov 2010, Sortit wrote:

    'kubica to ferrari in 2012 to partner alonso.. two best drivers in f1'

    umm I don't think so. Only a driver willing to accept No 2 status to keep Alonso happy will be signed, and Kubica is too good to be a No. 2 lackie.
    They are both mates anyway so Alonso will have spelt it out to Kubica for sure.
    Only a young buck or a fading star would be prepared to partner Alonso in a team that only supports one driver. Too many bad memories of Scumacher Vs Irvine, Barrichello, Fisichella etc to attract a serious contender.

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  • 54. At 9:33pm on 13 Nov 2010, Tim wrote:

    Well, my feelings about Alonso have fluctuated wildly over the years: delight as he beat Schumacher turned to disgust as his attempt to blackmail Ron Dennis became public. Now that the championship is effectively a two-horse race between him and Vettel, barring retirements, I desperately hope that Alonso's class triumphs. Button behind is unlikely to do anything foolish, and I can't see Alonso tangling with Hamilton with the prize in sight. Fingers crossed, as it would spoil the best season ever if the German won it.

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  • 55. At 04:28am on 14 Nov 2010, smilingSpongeMuffin wrote:

    First lap, Webber takes out himself and Alonso in part due to a crash between Kobayashi and Schumacher. Safety car, and no restart is called. Button leads into the first lap, and the concedes the lead to Hamilton, with Vettel 3rd. Vettel pits first, and comes out behind Massa, and then crashes in a desperate effort to overtake him. All cameras are on Hamilton who is first, Button sitting on his tail, Massa third, Petrov, Barrichello, Rosberg. Kubica, Hulkenburg, Heidfeld and Sutil scooping up the remaining points.

    It could so easily happen.

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  • 56. At 09:37am on 14 Nov 2010, sfe1987 - fun while it lasted! wrote:

    55. At 04:28am on 14 Nov 2010, smilingSpongeMuffin wrote:
    First lap, Webber takes out himself and Alonso in part due to a crash between Kobayashi and Schumacher. Safety car, and no restart is called. Button leads into the first lap, and the concedes the lead to Hamilton, with Vettel 3rd. Vettel pits first, and comes out behind Massa, and then crashes in a desperate effort to overtake him. All cameras are on Hamilton who is first, Button sitting on his tail, Massa third, Petrov, Barrichello, Rosberg. Kubica, Hulkenburg, Heidfeld and Sutil scooping up the remaining points.

    It could so easily happen.

    --------------------
    I don't think so. I cannot see how a crash further down the pack would affect Webber & Alonso. There is more chance of me getting passed Hamilton & Vettel in a go-kart than Button getting passed them on the first lap. Button is not going to push Hamilton at all.

    This is more likely to happen. Good start with no incidents. Hamilton pushes Vettel hard and eventually gets by him in the first 10 laps. Webber gets by Button, but not Alonso.

    Alonso wins the title.

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  • 57. At 10:00am on 14 Nov 2010, Peter wrote:

    I'd be very, very surprised if something doesn't happen at the first corner; both LH & MW will be very keen to make early moves, and SV will be determined that LH will not succeed. On this track that first corner is particularly important as overtaking is at a premium.

    I don't pretend to be able to see the future, but I can easily see one or more of the contenders being out of it afterwards.

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  • 58. At 10:17am on 14 Nov 2010, sfe1987 - fun while it lasted! wrote:

    I don't think MW can be too crazy on the first lap. I cannot afford to crash out. Alonso has the engine thing hanging over his head. Vettel needs to win and Hamilton will be pushing him all the way. If Hamilton gets ahead, we could see Vettel crashing out trying to overtake

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  • 59. At 12:10pm on 14 Nov 2010, Peter wrote:

    I don't see how MW *can't* be crazy on Lap 1. He has to get past Button to put pressure on Alonso. The danger is getting stuck behind Button while the first three race away. Jenson hasn't had early pace this season, and I fully expect the first three to be going at least half a second a lap quicker.

    Plus MW is never going to have a better overtaking opportunity - the Maclaren has better straight line pace. IMO if he doesn't get past JB at the first corner he might as well wave the WC goodbye.

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  • 60. At 12:27pm on 14 Nov 2010, Sean Veeder wrote:

    I predict a dull race. The McLarens are on the dirty side of the grid, so lap 1 positions will be Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, Button. Webber will take himself and Hamilton out in his desperation for track position, then Alonso will happily sit behind Vettel without pressuring him for the remainder of the race, thereby taking the championship. Boring.

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  • 61. At 12:49pm on 14 Nov 2010, Jeff Elliott wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 62. At 1:03pm on 14 Nov 2010, Jeff Elliott wrote:

    Last comment was deleted but I'm just saying that all the other BBC presenters wear their poppies with pride. Come on Hamilton!!!

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  • 63. At 3:19pm on 14 Nov 2010, _MikKar_ wrote:

    Well done Vettel, was not my preferred choice for WDC, but at least he made the most of his Red Bull car and did what he had to do : win. Alonso got mugged by Petrov, that was so lovely. Lewis could have won but being 24 points away he had no real chance unless all 3 of his rivals had mechanical failures, which didn't happen, but solid 2-3 from McLaren nevertheless.

    Feel bad for Webber though, his life-time chance to win the title, and he failed to make it count. Oh well. Big congratulations to Red Bull and Vettel, they deserve what's happening to them, at least it didn't require team orders as everyone was expecting or implying (Stefano, take note).

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  • 64. At 10:19pm on 16 Nov 2010, Wickster1 wrote:

    Red Bull knew that Alonso would chase Webber. So Red Bull sacrificed him by a tyre change that would put him out of contention for the lead, the race win and the title. Red Bull ensuring that the controlling figures at the top being German would ensure a German world champion.

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