Lauda tips Red Bull to pull ahead in 2012

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 leads Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7.

Sebastian Vettel leads Mark Webber early on in the Brazilian GP

Dec.28 (GMM) Triple world champion Niki Lauda has tipped Red Bull and world champion Sebastian Vettel to pull even further clear of their Formula 1 rivals in 2012.

Vettel won his second consecutive drivers’ title in dominant style this year, and Lauda tipped the 24-year-old to equal his own career tally next season.

“Logic tells me that Red Bull will be even further ahead,” the 62-year-old told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

The blown exhaust rules aside, F1’s technical regulations are staying relatively stable between 2011 and 2012.

“He who can build on an already very good car has an advantage,” insisted Lauda. “Making something good even better is easier than starting something new.”

He gives the example of Ferrari and Mercedes, whose new projects differ vastly from 2011. “There is the risk of going in the wrong direction,” said Lauda.

He said McLaren‘s Jenson Button, runner-up in 2011, could again be a main rival.

“In 2011 he was consistent and relaxed and flawlessly fast everywhere,” said Lauda. “His self-confidence benefitted him immensely.”