Alonso and Vettel not discounting Hamilton

2012 Korean Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel say Lewis Hamilton could still figure in the championship contest.

Hamilton is 42 points behind Alonso and 38 behind Vettel with five races to go.

Asked about Hamilton’s chances during the Korean Grand Prix press conference Alonso said: “I think it’s more difficult because now it’s not only one driver ahead that you need to take some points now we have two, more or less with the same points ahead and then he is back so for sure the chance for him is maybe a little bit lower.

“But if we see the form of McLaren and Lewis before Suzuka, still plenty of time and plenty of points to do it. So I think they still have the possibility.”

Vettel believes the performance of McLaren’s car will keep Hamilton in contention: “I think they are still in fighting for the championship I think that’s what is their target or has to be their target.

“I think if you look at the races we’ve had after the summer break so far I think if you summed them up in average I think that McLaren was the most competitive car. So they are the ones that will be very competitive no matter where we go, at least that’s what the last couple of races show. So I think they still have a very good chance.”

In the four races since the summer break Vettel has scored 68 points, Hamilton 35 and Alonso 30.

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    60 comments on “Alonso and Vettel not discounting Hamilton”

    1. I really hope this gets down to the wire, VET, ALO and HAM all in contention on the grid at Brazil

      I know it’s a long shot but Hammy needs to win this title before going to Mercedes… he’ll be waiting for a while when he gets there!

      The end of this season will be awesome as long as Vettel doesn’t pull out a big lead this weekend

      1. We still don’t know that for a fact, it is just conjecture. Kind of like how everyone thought Kimi would be horrid in his return to F1. Yet for a good portion of this year he has had a fighting chance at the WDC. So unless people can see into the future may I get the results for the top five in the next four races after Korea because I really want to win a prediction this season.

    2. Yep, Hamilton is still a major force in this championship; Mclaren have find the what caused Hamilton’s “handling issues” at suzuka, it wasnt his apparentaly “rubbish” set-up, but was a failure of a component in the rear suspension which helps with the balance of the car; so dont rule him out just yet

      1. thats actually even more worrying than a rubbish setup.

        1. Why would the (so far) one-off failure of an arbitrary component be more worrying that the repeated failure of a critical engine component, like an alternator?

          1. @optimaximal vjanik didn’t say it was more worrying than an alternator failure. He said the damper failure was more worrying than bad setup.

    3. When you look at the mistakes, McLaren have really thrown this championship away due to poor operational performance. The car is quick and the drivers are quick. Improving pit stops was a success, but why were there such big problems there in the first place?

      Perhaps the soulless MTC gives the staff a false impression that they leave no stone unturned when in fact it gives rise to a certain complacency.

      As much as I dislike Red Bull, you have to give them credit for filling up the cars with fuel correctly and practicing how to change 4 wheels before the season starts. They deserve both championships much more.

      1. Apparently there was a suspension problem on HAM’s car in Japan (autosport), so I guess that illustrates that he can be a factor in the rest of the year @john-h, but I guess it also nicely illustrates what you say:

        Through a set of operational problems (first the pitstop problems when the car was fast, then no speed for at least BUT, followed by unreliability since the summer, and a general sense of lacklustre strategies at times), and a few bits of being driven into that are always a risk, McLaren got themselves just about out of contention for the WCC and WDC.

        1. William Brierty
          11th October 2012, 10:22

          Hamilton had a suspension issue you say? That’s cheered me up a bit, because all we need now is a win for Lewis at Korea and an ambitous move up the inside on Alonso from Vettel and there you have it, an enthralling, intoxicating, super-competitive title fight, trumping even that of 2007.

        2. How can reasonably say they’re out of contention for the WCC when they’re 40 points in arrears with 215 points (5 x 1-2 finishes) up for grabs?

          Likewise for the Drivers. Lewis is 40 points behind, with 150 to play for? Yes, it’s not plain sailing or anything, but hardly a mathematical impossibility when Red Bull have had just as many mechanical hiccups as McLaren and Ferrari are falling back off the pace.

            1. Sorry, yes, 125…

    4. I wished they stopped these mind games ….. I think every average F1 fan can do the arithmetics.

      1. Yes, we can. Mathematics is not the question here. Hamilton can win it as much as Alonso and Vettel can.

        These aren’t mind games, I think they’re just being polite and rightfully apprehensive about their own campaigns.

        Remember Vettel didn’t lead the championship in 2010 until the last race when the won it.

    5. I say remember 2007? Go Kimi.

    6. William Brierty
      11th October 2012, 10:15

      I know there’s no chance of Hamilton mounting a challenge, and I know too that the title is Vettel’s like it has been for the past two years, but just imagine; Hamilton vs Alonso vs Vettel with one race to go. A titanic battle in Sao Paulo between the fastest drivers in the world would be great for Formula 1, a sport so dominated by the name “Vettel” these past years. It would be better still if Hamilton won the title in his final race for McLaren, and it mean that 2013 would be a phenomenal battle between three double world champions, all number 1 in their respective team.

      1. 40 points separate the top 4 drivers and there are 150 points left to play for.

        It’s not over by a long stretch.

        1. @optimaximal it’s not over – but the key thing is, the title is out of Lewis’s own hands. He needs someone to be between him and Alonso even if he took the last 5 victories. If he took the last 5 victories and Alonso took the last 5 second places, Alonso would still be champ. Heck even if it was Vettel taking all 5 P2 slots, Vettel would be champ.

          Careful not to fall into the “x points to play for” category – because getting those maximum points more than your rivals means your rivals have to DNF every race – far more unlikely than a rival winning every race. You have to look at it as Lewis having to now outscore Alonso by 8.6 points, PER RACE.

    7. Hamilton is still in there but canonly get a max of 277pts.
      1 DNF or a couple of mediocre results like Suzuka and he’s gone

      1. Realistically it is already a 2 horse race, but Mclaren have the speed to ruin it for Vettel.

        75% through the season and averaging out the scores per race : I reckon 263 will be enough to win overall.
        Alonso needs 69 pts: 3x 3rd + 2x 4th or 1x2nd + 2x3rd + 1x4th + 1x 5th (70)
        Vettel needs 74 points: 5x 3rd (75) or 3x1st (75)
        Hamilton needs 111 points: 3x1st + 2x2nd (out of it)

        Of course there are many other permutations, but i doublt that alonso will win again, whereas webber and button might win a race each.

        1. And yet those out-of-the-air statistics are completely rubbish, as you’re assuming all three drivers are sure to finish – before Spa, everyone assumed Alonso was doomed to finish every GP this year.

          He’s since retired twice. Vettel’s engine has also expired twice on very different tracks in hot conditions (one low speed, one high speed – Korea is a mix of a long straight and some very slow corners and it’s going to be a hot day)

          1. @optimaximal The weakness of the alternator is slow corners, nothing about the circuit’s average speed. Also, I don’t know where you get your info from – but it’s ridiculously cold down here in the paddocks. Has been since yesterday, and the same has applied for the last two years.

      2. Realistically it is only a two-horse race, since the Red Bull is the fastest car at this moment in time. Lewis Hamilton doesn’t really have a chance of catching Vettel or Alonso. He may still be mathematically in it, but I think 40 points with 5 races is just too much.

        1. @vettel1 Red Bull was the fastest car at Suzuka, it doesn’t mean they will be the best car in Korea.

          1. @jcost – It’s fast enough to stay on the front two rows.

    8. I respect Hamilton and I know he is still capable of challenging for the title in a certain circumstance, but I can imagine two scenarios only for 2012.

      1. Alonso gets a proper upgrade and avoids bad luck, in which case he fights it out with Vettel until the last race while they both take points off Hamilton or keep the difference constant, at least / keep him at bay in 3rd.
      2. Alonso doesn’t get a proper update so he lets the championship bid slip in Vettel’s favour who pulls away in the standings in the next couple of races. In this case Hamilton might be able to take 2nd in the WDC from Alonso, if the Ferrari really doesn’t perform on the high downforce Tilke tracks.

      That’s all. Hamiltons’ WDC bid expired in Singapore.

      1. What should actually be read in Alonso and Vettel’s statements is that each one of them hopes Hamilton will be able to take points off the other.

    9. Excuse me but Kimi is still ahead of Lewis and the first contender from the two super egos.

      1. @poul the question was about Hamilton’s chances and hence the response, not about who had the biggest ego

      2. I’m with ya. Never think the cool guy is out of the game. Cool guy is always game.

    10. A win from Hamilton with a retirement from Vettel would open the championship right up. It could even wait until the next race as long as Hamilton doesn’t finish this one particularly far behind Vettel, and ahead of Alonso. So it could swing Hamilton’s way quite easily. Of course, it could swing completely out of reach just as easily.

      1. In order for that to happen,
        First McLaren should be competitive to the recent upgraded Red Bull, which seems relatively a long shot,
        Second McLaren should not screw him with another glitches or errors either in pitstop or in strategy,
        And third, both Red Bull and Ferrari should suffer DNF at least one time among the rest 5 GPs.
        I do hope the pendulum swings back but probability-wise, the chances look fat.

    11. Hamilton could be a spanner in the works for either one of these guys. As someone said earlier, Alonso wants him to take points of Vettel, but beat him at the same time. Vettel wants the opposite. Hamilton wants to beat both guys.

      I wonder where Button and Webber fit into this scenario. The latter’s sort of fallen away but should he get a good set-up, and is ahead of Vettel, I don’t think he’d say no to moving aside for him, despite his distaste to being called the “no. 2 driver”; he is pretty much not going to win the WDC.

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        11th October 2012, 14:22

        I think what we’re actually saying is that, although the last 2 years suggest that Vettel should run away with the Championship, the reality is that any of the top 5/6 are in with a shout, albeit with a lot of luck required by some.

        Obviously if Vettel wins this Sunday and Alonso and Hamilton are way down the field then it probably is all over… Let’s hope for a surprising podium this weekend followed by 6 weeks of excitement

    12. Hamilton substantially closed the gap to the leader at Japan, I don’t get why everyone is writing him off. He’s closer now than he was pre race.

      1. Yep

        Before Japan, Hamiltons goal, being 50+ points behind the leader with 6 races to go, was to close the gap each race ideally by 10+ points per race. With Alonso not finishing and Hamilton finishing 5th, this goal was achieved (though its odd Mclaren didnt give lewis 4th place and an extra 2 points, which might prove vital in Brazil..) But the trend just needs to continue like this for the remainder, which might not be a big stretch if the Lotus’ new exhaust helps them jump the Ferrari’s in pace.

        1. Of course the problem now is that Vettel is up there too, who will probably be harder to gain significant points on each race.

      2. It’s true that Hamilton closed the gap to Alonso from 52 to 42 points but his gap to Vettel increased from 23 points to 38 points at the same time.

    13. The Blade Runner (@)
      11th October 2012, 13:41

      As a race fan first and foremost I really hope it does go to the wire. The thought of going to Brazil with a Vettel DNF meaning that Alonso or Hamilton take the Championship – or indeed some other dramatic permutation – would be fantastic for the sport.

      As others have said, it may be the last time that Lewis finds himself “in the mix” for the Championship for some time and it would be good to see the 3 best drivers (in my opinion, sorry Kimi) battling it our in Alonso’s “mini Championship”

    14. Not to hate but why the obsession with LH. For a guy who’s been at the peripheral 4 the last couple of years, its amazing the amount of press coverage he gets. He’s rated highly than some drivers who constantly beat him in races and finish ahead of him in the overall standings.
      I missed the qualifies this weekend and went online to view the results and the headline was ‘luis qualifies 7th’.n my 1st thoughts were,what kinda bs reporting is this. Shouldn’t the headline be ‘vetell first’?
      Luis is good on his day but there several drivers more consistent and arguably better. Yet despite not performing for over 4 seasons now, I still see people saying he’s at the top.
      He’s 40 points behind the leader and not even number 3,yet some journalist still questions the guy leading about the guy in 4th? Beggars belief really.
      If I was alonso I’d tell like it is. Catch us if you can.

      1. Right on! Am sure that the LH fans will claim all kind of team reasons for his demise but the fact is that he hasn’t performed well over the past years and even though he can be unbeatable at times he is not consistent while also making too many mistakes of his own.

      2. ….and yes; that statement would suit Fernando a whole lot better than whining about drivers coming back onto the track after he runs the off….

      3. Yet despite not performing for over 4 seasons now, I still see people saying he’s at the top.

        Lets be fair now. The McLaren he had at the start of 2009 was a complete dog & he drove the wheels off it & even managed a few wins. I don’t think Vettel would have done the same that season. Just look at his face this year when he wasn’t getting results or the car/team let him down.
        Yes Lewis makes mistakes & he threw away a WDC in his 1st season but please don’t try & make it look like he has not been a contender over the last 4 years. I truly believe that Alonso or Lewis would have had the same success if they had been driving the Redbull in 10/11 as we all know having the best car is a major factor in winning the WDC. I’m not taking anything away from Vettel he clearly has talent & speed with his Pole record but Alonso & Lewis can both grind out results when not in the fastest car. Apart from a win in the wet in Monza, Vettel has not done the same.

        1. @bobby-balboa – Yet you aren’t being fair either. Vettel ground out plenty of other great results in 07/08/09 than Monza.

          And this year, Vettel hasn’t had the best car, but has been consistently up there, and now is poised to take the championship lead.

        2. And we can always twist it around and say “Vettel would have had the same success in the Renault (2005/06), or Mclaren (2007/08)”.

          1. You are missing my point

        3. @bobby-balboa – So his 2nd places in Australia & Belgium weren’t “grinding out good results when not in the fastest car”?

          1. His car wasn’t over 2 seconds off the fastest now was it. Lets face it the Redbull has been the best car since half way through 09 season give or take a race or two and the start of this season but it has never been far off the pace like Ferrari & McLaren have been in recent years.

            My point is both Alonso & Hamilton have made a really bad car get results due to their driving. Vettel has raced from a low grid place to a good result sure. I was at Silverstone when he had an epic race from the back but give him a car that is 2 seconds off the pace & I don’t think he could make it a winner.

            Lights to Flag champion and there is nothing wrong with that if you are on pole as often as he is.

            I’m not bating or trying to play down what he has achieved I just don’t think he is better than Alonso & Hamilton

            1. @bobby-balboa

              Nobody here is saying that Vettel is better than Alonso and Hamilton (not even “kenyaf1” really referred to any driver in particular, save for expecting to see the polesitter’s name in a headline), and I understand that you’re not “hating” or anything like that.

              I agree with what you said that “kenyaf1” ‘s point about Hamilton not being that good, or whatever, isn’t being entirely fair to LH. Obviously Lewis is a top driver and has done well in his seasons in F1.

              But I disagree with your notion that Vettel couldn’t win or “grind out results” with a car that isn’t on the pace. When Vettel was driving a midfield/backmarker car at the start of his career, he consistently put it in unexpectedly high positions, much like the other top drivers would.

          2. You could come up with many examples & you would not be wrong but again my point was that the Redbull has never been 2 seconds off the pace of the leading car like the Ferrari & McLaren has in recent years.

            My point being is that I am not sure that Vettel would be able to do the same as the other two drivers in this situation.

            There is no way to know this as he hasn’t been in this position since half way through 09 so we will wait & see.

            I think this is done now

            1. @bobby-balboa Ok, but Mclaren have been competitive since mid 2009 as well. The only thing that matters is that Vettel (and Hamilton) have been in cars that have been far back from the pace, and have had great results.

            2. Then we shall agree to disagree

    15. Even if LH can pull close enough to FA and SV such that it comes down to the wire, of the three I’m the least confident in LH’s ability to handle the mental pressure game when it is at it’s greatest. He of course could prove me wrong because perhaps he has learned and has gained from his experience, but after throwing a few WDC’s away that were his to lose, and then barely squeeking out a WDC when he did, and then with how his year went last year, rife with mistakes and his admission of distractions, and with the change in atmosphere on the team with his departure this year, I’m not convinced LH would be able to hold together a real fight against FA and SV in the last race(s) of the season. We know he’s quick but so are they. We know he has the car, but so will they. Barring unreliability issues affecting one or even all three of the cars in question, a big part of it will down to the mental game. His best chance imho will only come if he dominates the next few races which obviously would improve his points situation but would also instill confidence in the car and take some weight off his mind as the season winds down. ie. in essence LH’s last few races are the next two we are about to see. If he doesn’t fight (or can’t) like the prize is about to be awarded in Korea or the next race, then he will be done.

      1. @robbie – Can’t help but agree. Vettel’s best run of form came towards the end of 2010, when the pressure piling up, while Alonso had to dig deep to hold off Raikkonen and Schumacher to win his 2 titles.

    16. I think people are reading too much into this. The way I see it is:

      It doesn’t matter if any driver takes a lead in the championship as long as it is under 25 points because then all it takes is the leader to not finish the race & Mr 24 points behind in 2nd to win & we have a new leader of the championship again.

      How many WDC have been won by a few points? More than enough to say that if the lead doesn’t get to be more than a race win in front then we still have a championship to play for.

      Massa & his Dad were convinced they were world champions in Brazil back in 08 until Ham overtook Glock on the last corner of the last lap.

      In the words of the great man “Anything can happen in F1 & it usually does”

      Don’t write off the season too early, you may be surprised

    17. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      11th October 2012, 19:12

      when Lewis loses the race superfans say “a dog of a car”, when he wins he is “superb”, right? but in Vettel’s case (especially this year when things haven’t been perfect) he wins and it’s “boredom”, his car stops completely as in Valencia and iis “masterpiece from Alonso”. If drivers were faceless and cars were all SILVER i would hear better opinions about the current DOUBLE WORLD CHAMPION

      1. Do you not agree that the McLaren at the start of the 09 season was “a dog of a car” that was before he even started the season. McLaren knew it & so did everyone else from there testing pace pre season.

        If he makes a mistake, crashes, gets crashed into then I don’t know anyone that would blame that on the car because with the post race analysis these days you would clearly see that he has made a mistake.

        People hated Schumacher when he was dominating F1 now it’s Vettels turn so I don’t know what the big surprise is that he gets negative press.

    18. Too bad McLaren does, otherwise he would not finish behind Button in Suzuka.

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