Mercedes chairman and RTL TV pundit Niki Lauda has tipped Sebastian Vettel to wrap up his fourth consecutive Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship with two races still to run this season.
Although some think Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is perhaps Red Bull leader Vettel’s main challenger with eight races to go in 2013, triple world champion Lauda thinks the title race is now effectively decided.
“I would go so far as to say Vettel will be the world champion in Abu Dhabi, which is the third to last race,” the great Austrian told Bild newspaper.
“His points lead was already big when he dominated at Spa, even though the Red Bull is not really suited to this track.
“Ok, maybe for Monza he is not the favourite, but on every other circuit he has the best car. It is more than enough for him,” added Lauda.
The comments indicate that Mercedes, already strongly focused on the huge rules challenge of 2014, has now given up on pushing for this year’s title.
“We will not give up,” Lauda insisted to Osterreich newspaper.
“But I am also realistic. Vettel dominated at Spa, and I think he could have been three, four tenths per lap even faster.
“We have improved so much, but Red Bull is still better,” he admitted. (GMM.)