September 17th, 2012 (F1plus / Gustavo A Roche). – Yes indeed. I am still betting on the defending champion to earn a third crown. But why is that?...hum...let’s see.
First of all, the season that Fernando Alonso is having is simply amazing, especially when considering Ferrari has not produced the best car that is out there.
Fernando’s legitimate chance for the championship speaks volumes of the type of driver he is, maybe the best all-around and ever to be on the grid. Ok...let’s say at least in the last 20 years (Flavio Briatore would agree here). He has simple outperformed the Ferrari F2012 and his teammate by much, and being able to score basically in all races but one it’s been an achievement on its own.
On the other hand, we have Sebastian Vettel’s and his somewhat unreliable RB8. In his last race he had to retire while having good chances to score at least a fifth place, and the worst one was in the European GP when his alternator failed (just like in Monza) and lost a probably victory (that happened to go to Alonso).
It’s true that luck has been tough on the German, but he has not helped his case much neither with his ultra-competitive long-face type of attitude. This sport is full of frustrations and bad moments, and things have to be taken into perspective. Just remember Schumacher in his early Ferrari years.
So, be competitive and push, but take it easy lad. Vettel has matured very fast in few years, mistakes on the track are now scarce, but when conditions are not the best for the double champion, his competitive personality gets the best out of him and projects this inconformity attitude.
Now, Red Bull leads the constructors’ championship for a reason. They still have the best package out here, closely matched by McLaren’s. Nevertheless, it is Alonso in a different car than those two who leads the ranks.
Chris Horner and Adrian Newey are trying to decipher how to maximize the car’s performance, and of course, fix those reliability issues that has cost several points. Once they achieve this or improve it good enough, we will see changes on the standings, and this might even include Webber who is back to his old form.
There’s still a lot of time and points for the grabs. In 2010, Vettel became the standings leader when he crossed first the last GP of the year at Abu Dhabi. If he embarks in a two-three-win streak, which is plausible, given the nature of the tracks for the next four races and beyond (Singapore, Japan, Korea & India), he could just climb up.
Personally, Hamilton is probably the only one capable of matching –and not always- Vettel’s speed, but Alonso’s consistency, errorless driving and intelligence on the track will make it hard for anyone to move him down his current position. Also, luck has been more on the side of the Spaniard, in contrast to the German’s and that can change.
Conclusion, it is hard to believe that Sebastian Vettel will not finish either in first or second place in the championship. Being the runner-up will not settle nice on him, but it will for sure bring more wisdom.