Vettel can take nothing for granted

Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:58pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel can become Formula One's youngest triple champion without scoring a point in Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix but Fernando Alonso has a more sensational script in mind.

If Ferrari's Alonso retires from what promises to be a nail-biting race at Interlagos, the title will go to his Red Bull rival there and then - just as it will if the Spaniard fails to finish in the top three.

The odds favor 25-year-old Vettel, who has a 13-point lead, overwhelmingly but Formula One has a habit of ripping up comfortable predictions and turning the seemingly inevitable into the incredible.

Alonso will never give up hope and Vettel will be taking nothing for granted.

"Maybe on paper that chance is not so big, maybe 25 percent. But deep down, I feel it's much more than that." Alonso, who won both his previous titles in Brazil, said after last weekend's U.S. Grand Prix.

The statistics show that Vettel need only do what he has done 13 times so far this season - finish fourth or higher - to take the crown for a third year in a row even if Alonso dominates the race.

Bookmakers offer odds of 1/6 on the Red Bull driver for the title with Alonso at 4/1.

The odds simply reflect the reality that Vettel has finished his last six races on the podium, winning four of them in a row. But what gives hope to Ferrari fans is what happened in the six races where Vettel was not in the top four.   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel (R) of Germany offers his cap to Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain during a news conference following the Indian F1 Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Vijay Mathur