F1 title race comes down to final challenge in Brazil
SAO PAULO - Agence France-Presse / Reuters
German driver Sebastian Vettel will claim his third Formula One title if he can finish the race in the top four spots. Reuters photo
After helping his Red Bull team claim a stunning third consecutive constructors’ world championship in Texas last weekend, defending drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel will seek, once again, to become the youngest triple champion in Formula One history in this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
In his 101st race, the 25-year-old German has a clear goal - to finish in the top four and thereby make it impossible for his only rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari to overhaul his 13 points deficit and take his own third title.
On paper, for Vettel, it sounds simple enough after a sequence of results that recently saw him reel off four straight wins before finishing third in Abu Dhabi, after starting in the pit lane, and then second in Austin last weekend. But he knows that Alonso will do all he possibly can, within the rules, to seize his first title triumph since he joined Ferrari.
“In Formula One there’s always pressure but definitely we have less than on some other occasions and maybe less than probably if we were leading the championship,” the Ferrari driver told reporters.
“We have nothing really to lose. We are arriving in second position, we are arriving after two qualifyings dominated by Red Bull - well, five or six - and then we were around positions seventh, eighth [on the grid] in the last couple of Grands Prix. If everything goes normally, we should finish second it’s probably not in our hands, the pressure is much less.”
Alonso will be aware, too, of the threat from both McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in the season finale. Hamilton has made it clear he wants to mark the 20th and final race of the year and of his career with McLaren on a high note before transferring to Mercedes next year.
“As my final race behind the wheel of a McLaren, I vow to the whole team that I’ll give it my all,”he said.
Button said Alonso deserved the title more than Vettel.
“Probably Fernando, because he’s been there from the word go and he hasn’t really made any mistakes this year and he’s been consistently quick.
“He’s done a very good job in the car he has. Seb’s been more inconsistent this year. The last few races he’s been fantastic with a great car.
“I think if you look at the season as a whole, consistency does mean a lot, and it’s good to see that Fernando has been that good at every race.”
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said they know no other approach than racing to win. “We just have to approach the next race as we have the previous 19,” he said. “We have to go there, attack the weekend, and get the best out of ourselves; the car, the strategy, the drivers, and reliability.
“Anything can happen, as we have seen this season, but it is good to be going there with a lead, and we go there determined to close the job off.”
Formula legend Schumi set for final farewell
SAO PAULO - AFP-AP
Michael Schumacher main goal entering his final Formula One race is to have some fun.
The seven-time world champion will finish F1’s most successful career at the Brazilian GP. He hopes to enjoy the moment without the pressure of doing well on the track. Schumacher retired for the first time in 2006, when he came to Interlagos still fighting for the championship.
Out of contention this time, the 43-year-old German driver is “rather relaxed.”
“My departure will probably be less emotional for me this time than in 2006, when we were still fighting for the championship and everything was much more intense,” said Schumacher. “This time around, I will be able to pay more attention to my farewell and hopefully savor it too.
“I have had fantastic years in Formula One and a lot of support from fans around the world and I wish to thank them for that.”