The magic number for Sebastian Vettel is five, as fifth place at the Indian Grand Prix will be enough for the Red Bull driver to secure the 2013 world title.
Winning on Sunday at Suzuka – his fifth victory on the trot – was not quite enough to seal Vettel’s fourth World title, because Fernando Alonso finished fourth, and not ninth, thus the Spaniard’s mathematical chances remain alive for at least another race, in India in two weeks’ time.
Nevertheless at Suzuka Vettel joined truly great company – only legends Michael Schumacher, Alberto Ascari, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell have won five grands prix on the trot.
If Vettel finishes fifth in India – even if Ferrari’s Alonso wins that race, and also the following races in Abu Dhabi, Austin and Brazil – the fourth title will be in the pocket for the 26 year old German.
“It looks very good at this stage,” Vettel admitted on the Suzuka podium, “but it’s not over until it’s over.”
Alonso, however, has conceded defeat, “We have different goals now.”
But the Spaniard added, “Today they told me I have the record for the most amount of points in Formula 1 history, so it’s a happy day,” added the Spaniard, referring to a record that had been held by Michael Schumacher.
If it was possible to take some of the shine off Vettel’s winning streak, it by suggestions that Red Bull deliberately disadvantaged pole sitter Mark Webber by putting him on a different three-stop strategy in Japan.
Team boss Christian Horner denied that. “Mark’s tyres didn’t last as long as Seb’s,” he explained simply. (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.