With only the Brazilian Grand Prix left in the season, there are just two drivers in with a shout of championship glory. They are, of course, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Vettel is 13 points ahead of Alonso, which puts the German at an obvious advantage. However, as Alguersuari points out, Alonso has nothing to lose, and the race will therefore be an “uncomfortable” one for Vettel.
If Alonso wins the final race, Vettel needs a fourth-place finish to take the title. If Alonso comes second, Vettel must finish seventh or better to retain his crown. If Alonso finishes third or lower, Vettel will be 2012 World Champion even if he fails to finish the race.
Vettel’s Red Bull is easily quicker than Alonso’s Ferrari in dry conditions, as was demonstrated at yesterday’s US Grand Prix where Vettel finished 38 seconds ahead of Alonso. But the Brazilian race is notorious for delivering unpredictable weather, and Alonso has already demonstrated his skill in the wet this season, winning in Malaysia and taking pole position in torrential rain at Silverstone and Hockenheim. Rain is currently forecast for Saturday and Sunday, which could play straight into the hands of Alonso.
Alonso also has reliability on his side. Vettel’s Red Bull team has been plagued by alternator issues throughout the year, including while Vettel was leading comfortably in Valencia. Most recently, Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber suffered an alternator failure during yesterday’s race in Texas – a timely reminder to Vettel that the championship is anything but decided. By contrast, Alonso has not had a single reliability issue during a race this season. His two non-finishes were both caused by accident damage.
Alguersuari, who is a compatriot of the Spanish Alonso, was interviewed by Mundo Deportivo, and had the following to say:
“Vettel can only lose the championship, because in theory he has already won. But theory doesn’t give you ten points.
“Fernando, who at the age of 31 knows something about Formula One after 11 years, is already the de-facto runner-up and so he can only win.
“Who has been involved in elite sport knows what can go wrong when you are defending an advantage, and how well you can go when you have nothing to lose.
“So Brazil will give us something very interesting.”