Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has admitted his world championship hopes would get a major boost if Sebastian Vettel crashes at the start of a grand prix, particularly if the world champion suffered a fate similar to the incident that the Spaniard endured last year at Spa.
Many see Vettel’s dominance in Belgium as a sure sign the Red Bull driver will now canter to his fourth consecutive drivers’ title.
“Vettel has the world title in the bag,” said Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport after the race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Corriere dello Sport agreed: “Vettel remains out of reach; invincible in his Red Bull with which no one can find fault. He is on track to break all of Michael Schumacher’s records.”
Ferrari, however, showed signs of recovery at Spa after a miserable July, but Alonso acknowledged that he needs to see Vettel to run into trouble.
“I left Monza last year with 41 points more than Vettel,” he is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace. “It shows how quickly things can change.
“But for this, we need to win three or four races in a row and have someone run over him at the start, as happened to me, or [for him to have] technical problems.”
Alonso is undoubtedly referring to his Belgian Grand Prix of a year ago, when Romain Grosjean’s flying Lotus ended his race in a shower of carbon fibre debris.
“It happened to me last year and it could happen again,” added Alonso. But with just eight races left in 2013, some of Vettel’s rivals are beginning to be written off.
Kimi Raikkonen, for example, lost his runner-up place in the drivers’ standings at Spa, when he retired with brake failure.
“You would probably have to say that the three (Vettel, Alonso, Lewis Hamilton) who finished on the podium in Belgium are likely to be the major rivals to the end of the year,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Marc Surer, a former driver turned pundit, sees another problem for Raikkonen’s Lotus.
“If you lack the money to try everything you can think of,” he told Der Spiegel, “you have no chance.”
Questions about Mercedes are also being asked.
“Do they still have reserves in their development to catch Red Bull in this season?” former driver Patrick Tambay told France’s RMC Sport.
“In Belgium they were clearly beaten.”
So perhaps the final question is to wonder if anyone can beat Vettel now. “Probably, only himself,” acknowledged Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn. (GMM)