Vettel ready to land knockout blow but Alonso won’t be floored easily

(L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari. Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday 23 March 2012. BEST IMAGE

Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso

Nov.6 (Reuters) The knockout blow in the Formula One Drivers’ title battle has yet to be thrown but the moment is fast approaching and Red Bull‘s Sebastian Vettel is landing the big psychological hits – but his arch rival is hardly cowering into a corner.

Sebastian Vettel started the race from the pitlane during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 4, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.Sunday’s floodlit Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a standout chance for Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to recapture the lead in the drivers’ standings with two races to go but, even if he beat Vettel for the first time in six races, it remained an opportunity missed.

Vettel is 10 points clear of the Spaniard and can win his third title in a row at the new Austin track in Texas next week. The pressure now is on Alonso to stop him.

The manner in which Vettel surged from last of all, starting in the pit lane, to finish third and one place behind his sole title rival was a perfect example of damage limitation and determination.

It was also supremely demoralising for Ferrari.

“To anyone that doubted he’s a racer, I think he showed world class,” said team principal Christian Horner. “To go from pit lane to podium was phenomenal.”

Austin will be Vettel’s 100th race and his Red Bull team look likely to celebrate their third constructors’ crown in a row in what is the parent company’s biggest market for sales of their energy drink.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 04:  Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (2nd right) of Finland and Lotus celebrates on the podium with second placed Fernando Alonso (2nd left) of Spain and Ferrari, third placed Sebastian Vettel (right) of Germany and Red Bull Racing and Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier (left) following the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 4, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kimi Raikkonen; Fernando Alonso; Sebastian Vettel; Eric BoullierAlonso, one of the mentally toughest of opponents, tried to stay optimistic when he told reporters that he would go to bed “thinking the glass is half full rather than half empty” but Sunday’s outcome must have hurt.

The Ferrari driver can draw strength from the knowledge that he will become the triple champion if he wins the last two races, wherever Vettel finishes.

The Spaniard has shown great consistency, with 11 podium finishes in 18 races, but whatever he does it is not quite enough. He has not won since Germany in June and the Ferrari is not as quick as the Red Bull, something Vettel is rubbing in even when he cannot win.

“It was entirely predictable that starting sixth on the grid, [Alonso] was going to be on the podium,” said Horner.

“I had already mentally got an image of him taking between 15 and 25 points out of us…to limit that damage to only three and finish behind him is a remarkable recovery, a great drive by Sebastian.”

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, whose driver Lewis Hamilton started on pole and then retired while leading due to a fuel pump problem, saw it slightly differently.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 makes a pit stop to replace a broken front wing. Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday 4 November 2012.“I think he was fairly lucky this weekend one way or another,” he said of Vettel, who benefited from two safety car periods and the retirement of quick drivers who might have held him up.

Alonso has spoken of his determination, his years of experience, the Samurai-like fighting spirit and confidence that he will still be the one collecting the prize at the end but, as Horner noted at the weekend, talk is cheap.

The Spaniard will need to call on all of his calm and resilience now, knowing that one mistake or retirement in Austin could end his hopes immediately and make the final race in Brazil virtually redundant.

Vettel, whose run of four wins in a row and 205 successive laps led came to an end, showed that he seems able to take whatever is thrown at him.

“Being under pressure is one of his key strengths and assets. We’ve seen it time and time again with him. As he continues to evolve, continues to grow, he continues to improve,” added Horner.

After being sent to the back of the grid, and then the pitlane, for a fuel irregularity, Vettel prepared for the race by toying around with a drum kit in his room. He told Horner he would see him on the podium later.

Asked with Alonso alongside whether he had expected to be on the podium, Vettel replied: “Yes I did, to be honest with you. It was a obviously a chance to f*ck it up and we didn’t do that,” he added.

Subbed by AJN.

  • jl

    Start from pit and finish 3rd,… that make Alonso so so so much frightened.
    Vettel showed his true potent to exploit car advantage and every slight opportunities. Let’s hope no front runner get any accidents or engine failure to provide us great battle.

  • haha

    Alonso is just pissed coz he knows that should Vettel win it this year then the younger German would have more titles than him and all of them back-to-back. Alonso was always considered to be the best after the Michael Schumacher dominion and this would prove that he got beaten by a younger talent.
    Same goes for Lewis and his “lucky” talk, all we know is that he only has one title which he won against Ferrari’s number 2 driver (not such an achievement) and now he’s moving to Mercedes for the money. Denying it is like telling a blind man to read a book.

  • Nowhereman

    Pull your heads out of your rear ends.
    You talk like a narrow sited idiot would talk.
    You say nothing of the TWO safety cars or the front runners falling away that allowed Vettel to cake walk to the front.
    You people are a joke.
    Shut your pie holes and watch what happens in America.

  • hillside

    Seb riding on Newey Vs Alonso riding on luck

  • AlonsoFan

    Dont worry people hopefully Alonso will win thid championship and beat Vettel to it in brazil..

  • haha

    yes Nowhereman, tell us about the safety car. Or maybe how Alonso saw the faster cars infront of him fail like Lewis and his McLaren, Button giving up, Webber “slow” starting.
    You forgot to mention an extra pit stop for Vettel, a broken wing and the fact he had to start from the back all over when he went it to replace it.
    Alonso does not deserve the title, now stick your head back in it’s dark place ;)

  • fools

    “I think he was fairly lucky this weekend one way or another,” he said of Vettel, who benefited from two safety car periods and the retirement of quick drivers who might have held him up.

    Spot on…either way… We all know Alonso is a better racer then Vettel.

  • Mark

    Well, maybe Alonso is right, yes, indeed, Vettel was lucky to have 2 safety car periods. I still prefer Vettel’s plain and straight luck instead of Alonso’s dirty ways to win a race (cough-cough, Nelson Piquet Jr. crashing other people to clean Alonso’s track in Singapore). Vettel riding on a car, Alonso on cheap talks.

  • fools

    @Mark…u would say that..because haters like you only have that to say. As if Alonso actually masterminded that crash for his success. Ignorant comment.

    Keep off the crack pipe again.

    If that was the case…why wasnt he stripped for his WDC. You haters who bring that junk towards Alonso are just exposing there hate and scared Alonso will win his 3rd WDC.

  • Butterfly

    Half adore him, half hate him, but everybody’s talking about Alonso. That’s good.

    Keep it up, guys!

  • Alonso_is_slow

    there was a driver of the weekend vote at f1fanatic

    results:
    Raikkonen 37%
    Vettel 27%
    Hamilton 21%
    Alonso 8%

    Cearly, Alonso is a second class driver. People know it. He is insignificant.

  • jl

    Haha,… Agree with you al-slow. In “crash” website pool ranks
    1. Raikkonen
    2. Vettel
    3. Alonso
    Unfortunately,.. I forgot the numbers.
    The one who hailed Alonso so much is blind either they eat too much alonso words which make them reject any reason that alonso is not as good as they think (also make them blind).

  • surya kumar

    That Guy Vettel is just riding his Plain luck as his Newey designed car is much faster than the rest of the field. Take away the two safety cars, Hamilton’s retirement and Webber’s Stupidity he would have at best finished 8th and Alonso would have taken the lead.
    So Once Vettel is a good driver no doubt about it but he is not yet Great.

  • Butterfly

    OMG, the SOB first writes a comment under a name then another under a different name agreeing with the first one.

    Jesus H. Christ! That has got to be the most retarded thing ever.

  • fools

    haha those idiots like alo is slow and jl got those from planet f1. and change the # ranks…idiots.

    they only come here to piss people off. they have NO knowledge of the F1 sport. Just talk. smh… stop smoking crack. get your education from F1.com.

  • fools

    for those who dont know crash is the most bias website for f1 and motogp news. I go there all the time to count the idiots who go there and talk bs like the ones here and shut them up. :)

  • Butterfly

    Also known as .

  • Butterfly

    * trash dot com

  • Butterfly

    @fools:

    That’s some hobby you go there :-)

  • Alonso_is_slow

    Butterfly – your denial in the form of mixing me with jl is funny.

    Alonso just does the same, he does not understand that Vettel is his main opponent, whatever car he has.

    Syndromatic!

  • Alonso_is_slow

    @jl

    I like your language “they eat too much Alonso words” – the best formulation of what happens.

    They eat it, really. And Alonso knows that too.

  • fools

    @Butterfly

    its all for Alonso…haha :)

    Alonso for the 2012 WDC lets goooo!

  • Speedo

    Adrian Newey’s Red Bull has blown away the rest of the pack for the last three years – fact. The last four races have shown that Vettel and Webber in their Red Bulls cannot be matched. Newey is the difference between RB and the rest. Next year will be the same unless the other teams match Newey’ss capabilities. At the last race Vettel was indeed lucky due to the 2 safety carperiods, DNFs among the front runners, the accidents and incidents. His accident did not cost him any time as he was able to change his front wing during the safety car period while the front runners lost time as they lead that they had gained whittled away behind the safety car not once but twice – the biggest podium loser being Button. All the same Vettel drove a very good race.

  • Speedo

    Can the Matador’s sword tame the Bull? Can Ferrari provide him a sword with an edge?

  • Butterfly

    @Speedo:

    Four years, mate. The 2009 car was fastest without the DD, and fastest with.

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Whitmush is wrong about the luck of 2 SC periods benefitting Vettel. The first SC period cost Vettel a stop to replace the wing after avoiding a collision, which set him back the 10 spots he had gained before, he’d have been better off without it. The second SC benefited everyone, and showed Alonso asleep at the wheel – why did he allow Kimi to take off on him, while Vettel did his job and closed up – just like everyone behind him. Not only did Vettel move up 21 positions, he recovered from a busted wing and 2 stops against a healthy field on one stoppers. Yes, he benefited from Hamilton retiring, so did Kimi and Fernando, yet Button failed to hold onto 3rd, so what? Bottom line: The next race being at an all new track, with SV and FA so close, with one race left – is outstanding, no matter who you like for the big prize takeaway!

  • Alonso_is_slow

    @Speedo

    wrong. Webber can be matched. Only Vettel cant be matched. Webber has not even collected a 2nd place in the -according-to-you superior red bull in these years. His best was 3rd. And Red Bull does not use illegal team orders like Alonso does.

    Vettel makes a huge difference Alone.

    Those who dont understand that – including Alonso – do not understand that it takes more than a good car to win.

  • jl

    crash biased. f1fanatic biased.
    Well, I don’t care.
    Even yallaf1 biased.
    The main point is: it is a pool, it represent the opinion of one population, at this case website reader. Then why yallaf1 do not make any pool? Let’s se how the reader opinion about alonso drove in Abu dhabi.

    @Al-slow: you got the hot button man!

  • Butterfly

    Pathetic troll.