Alonso: We can win the title with a slightly slower car

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says this year proves he can win the championship with a slower car.

Speaking after missing out on the drivers’ title by three points Sebastian Vettel, Alonso said “We proved that with a car a little bit slower than the others we can win the championship.

“With a car that is the same of the others I think we can win a few races before the end. And with a car that is a lot slower than the others we can fight until the last race. So it was a very good season for us and we proved many things this year.”

Alonso felt he made the most of the opportunity offered by the “tricky” conditions: “It was a lot of action today, a lot of mixed conditions.

“Sometimes it was not any more important to be one tenth slower or one second slower it was just survive that lap until you change the tyres and you arrive a little bit more comfortable.

“So very tricky conditions, what we wanted, and again we showed we took benefit from these mixed conditions. We were in the podium and our rivals struggling until the end.”

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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61 comments on “Alonso: We can win the title with a slightly slower car”

  1. I’m fed up with Fernando’s arrogance. It just doesn’t add up with the data.
    His car has had good race pace over the year, with few exceptions. And he proved not to be a qualifying god. I get the feeling that if he had done better on Saturdays, he might have won the title.
    The Ferrari was not MUCH slower than the Red Bull, it is disrespectful to say that. He has been disrespectful of Vettel the whole season, directly and indirectly. And he doesn’t need it, since he is the better driver, currently. But for me, this whole season with him repeatedly saying how he is always taking the maximum out of the car (not always true) and with him himself saying that it was his best season so far (let others do the talking) make me come to the conclusion that he might still be the best driver, but he is not the better sportsman.

    1. I agree; I see this as arrogance without a trace of humility, but I personally think Vettel is a better driver than him.
      Apart from that, I agree with what you’re writing.

    2. Of course he’s not the best sportsman. He has never been. If he had, I’d’ve become his fan when he joined Ferrari. But I didn’t. I respect his immense talent and agree that these last few seasons he has been the most complete driver by far (excluding his off-track behaviour), even though he won 0 titles with Ferrari.

    3. Completely agree. Don’t think there’s anything more I need to add to your comment!

    4. +1. I couldn’t agree more.

    5. Well said!

    6. @magon4 + a million. This is the reason why I’ll never, ever bring myself to like and support Alonso, even though I think he is the best driver in F1 today (but something I like to think of, as a Vettel fan, is how ‘complete’ Vettel will be when he gets to 31 years of age :P)

    7. Exactly, it’s the reason I’ve never like Fernando, he’s got nothing to prove, we all know he’s a great driver. I’m sick of him and Ferrari blaming their championship loss on their bad luck, Vettel’s luck and their car. I think both Vettel and Alonso have been very lucky and Hamilton, of course, very unlucky. Yes, Alonso missed 2 races but Vettel lost 25 points in Valencia and had more bad luck in Abu Dhabi and Sao Paulo (depending on how you look at it). Their car has often had one of the best race pace, they are trying to come up with so many excuses, Fernando and Stefano, admit it, you lost! You do not have the best team, Vettel and Red Bull were clearly better!!! Besides, Alonso and Vettel were lucky Hamilton wasn’t there to take the title.

    8. If Massa was driving with the form he showed during the latter parts of the season at its beginning, he would no doubt have out-qualified Alonso more, validating this further.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        26th November 2012, 14:14

        @asingh1 yep. Looks like Massa is getting better and better since he got a podium a few races ago. To me it looks like something that was keeping him out of shape since the Hungarian accident has finally healed, and he can be the same 2008 Massa again, which I would love to see. I’d love to see Massa showing the whole team and Alonso he’s not a “chicken” anymore. I think that’s why he cried yesterday, because he wasn’t given the opportunity to be 2nd, to probably beat Button at home with his crowd. All the $H** Ferrari did to downplay him was for nothing, because Alonso couldn’t make it. A shame for Massa, but I don’t feel sorry for Alonso at all. It’s probably karma effect the thing that keeps Alonso being “almost” 3 times champion many times.

    9. @magon4 Agree as well, it looks like Ferrari and Alonso got stuck on the first race of the season where it was right to say they had some pace issues and Alonso did a great job with what he had … But after that, it quickly changed and this constant talk about it quickly bother me. You add the fact that Ferrari and Alonso didn’t publicly recognize the great work and help from Massa during the end of the season, and yet Massa should be the one thanked to have brought the title decider until Brazil.
      Hope everything is reset for next year and Ferrari / Alonso don’t play the same card again of the poor boys which are the best but don’t have the right tools to complete the job while it’s their only fault…

    10. Oh please…

      Ferrari have hardly had the race pace to win. If they did, then they would have won more DRY races, plain and simple.

      I find it amazing how you base your accusation that he is bad at qualifying based simply on these last two or three races where his team mate has done better than him. Thats a laugh, considering just how many races are in a season. If he was such a bad qualifier, then Massa would have out qualified him easily.

      Certain drivers are better on certain tracks. Massa happened to be better on the last few tracks. There is nothing more to it than that. Massa liked the USA and naturally he was good at his home track, as he has already won in Brazil twice. Does that instantly mean Alonso is bad at qualifying? Hell no! The evidence says otherwise, as he has out-qualified his team mate almost every race this season and has done the same to almost every team mate he has had in the past (except against Lewis.. which was about 50/50).

      Just because Massa is being beaten does not mean he is out of form or his motivation is damaged. Thats a bunch of BS made up by the media to try sensationalize the story. Massa was simply being out-driven by Alonso.

      Lastly, there is no point having only “good” race pace when it is not enough to win the race. The car is valued on its overall performance over a weekend and the Ferrari was third best in that category.

      You cant honestly tell me that the Ferrari was a faster car than the RBR or Mclaren in either race pace or qualifying.

      1. I agree, there are only a few sessions during the season when Ferrari had the fastest car, and mostly they well quite a bit behind.

        Alonso is far from arrogant here, In nothing else he is flying the Ferrari flag proudly.

      2. Ferrari had the most consistent car (fewest retirements), a car is fine balance between speed and reliability. McLaren had the fastest but lacked reliability – Redbull where somewhere in the middle. The truth is Ferrari matched Alonso strength, consistency – if Alonso had managed to do what Kimi did and finish every race there he would have been World Champion. There was enough pace in the Ferrari, combined with other misfortune and there great straight-line speed on Sundays to constantly deliver great results – and F1 these days rewards consistency over speed – I would say Ferrari got a lot closer to getting it right that they are being given credit for – with a half decent first 3/4 showing from Massa they would have cake walked the Constructors Championship.

  2. I think Ferrari should’ve call Alonso for Inters a lap earlier. Well, hindsight is 20/20.

    1. I think Ferrari should’ve fired Massa way back in 2010 (regardless of his latest rise in performance). If they’d’ve done that, today Ferrari might have gone home with both titles. How? The new guy would’ve contribuited more in the WCT, but also in the WDT by stealing points from Alonso’s main rivals just as Webber did this season.

      1. How easily people forget. Of Ferrari’s current drivers Massa has been the one closest to delivering a WDC for them, not Alonso. Despite a terrible accident which could easily have cost his life in 2009 Massa got back in the car in 2010 and should have gone on to win a race only 12 months later had it not been for his team and team-mate conspiring to deny him that win.

        During his absence at the end of 2009 it became clear from the performance of the stand-in drivers that both Massa and Räikkönen had been delivering exceptional results in a car which was very difficult to drive (now give Alonso that car and he really would have something to complain about).

        As a result of the actions of Ferrari and Alonso in 2010 Massa was never the same driver and his performances have bombed until the last few races of 2012. And this latest suggestion from @commendatore is that that the reason Alonso lost the WDC is not down to his own ability – it’s Massa’s fault!!! Obviously having an incredibly compliant team mate, who gave up a position today and gave up 5 spaces on the grid at the last race to get Alonso onto the clean side of the track is such a ball-and-chain.

        I really wish people would just face the facts. Whilst Alonso is undoubtedly one of the great drivers of his generation (and I wouldn’t argue with that) Ferrari build a solid race car this year which took second place in the constructors championship (despite Massa’s poor form for a large part of the season) and almost every driver on the grid would have gladly swapped their own car for that Ferrari.

        Alonso should face that facts and concentrate on putting it right rather than blaming his tools. I fear that Ferrari will only accept Alonso’s pointing the finger at them for so long before they get tired of him and push him out the way for the next big thing. Räikkönen and Massa have both discovered that no driver is more important to Ferrari than Ferrari and Alonso needs to deliver a championship otherwise he will also learn the hard way.

        1. @jerseyf1 nice one, could just add the example of reliability Ferrari has been this year. And Massa is the one that made it possible for Alonso to fight until the next race for the title. Yes Alonso has been the guy with most podiums this year, and once again, he owes some to his team mate. I find it quite sad the way Massa is treated, okay for the question mark about him being at his place in F1 after some races, but the end of the season, he was amazing, well above Alonso.

        2. @jerseyf1

          Massa got 122 points this season, less than half of what Alonso got in a car that was overall third fastest during this season. Something that cannot be said for Webber.
          Still, the Spaniard got within 3 points of the title: in an inferior car and with little or no real help from his teammate Massa.

          The last few good races from Massa, cannot compensate for the poor performances since his accident in 2009. And even before that, Kimi won the title for Ferrari. Not Massa. Comming close in F1 matters little. What you achieve and how you achieve it does. If I were Montezemolo, I would have fired Domenicali and Massa long ago…….

          P.S. I am a Ferrari fan, and Massa’s supporter. But what Alonso did this season is nothing short of a miracle. He deserves better car, better team boss and better teammate.

          1. Look closely at 2010 season and you will notice that Massa was delivering good amount of points in the first half. Than he had some unlucky races and than he had fantastic Germany and stolen victory – in the middle of the season! It wasn’t like there were few races until the end and his team mate was clearly ahead. After that he was never the same. So you should be grateful to Massa, because he is doing a lot to help this team (Alonso). I don’t think that Webber will make such sacrifices for Seb or anyone else.

          2. @commendatore You are suffering from major inconsistencies – on the one hand you’re saying that Massa has underdelivered (despite scoring 122 points) which suggests that he had a very capable car, and at the same time Alonso delivered a near miracle in a rubbish car. So if I understand you right Ferrari managed to give Massa a great car and Alonso a duff one – hmm.

            I think the reality is that the car was actually extremely good over the course of the season, Alonso did get a lot out of it and certainly more than Massa who had a poor year but the extremes are not as you would have us believe.

            Comming close in F1 matters little.

            So will you be calling on Montezemolo to fire Alonso now too?

        3. @JerseyF1
          Perfect post!!!!

        4. @jerseyf1

          I don’t see how Alonso is blaming the tools? If anything, Alonso has blamed other drivers and stewards decisions (I’m not saying he has done right by doing so. I think it would had been wiser to be quite at this stage…). What Alonso has been saying all this year is what everybody on Ferrari has been saying (Montezemolo included. Read his latest declarations. He went on saying how a good work has done all parts of the team but (deliberately excluding) the design team…). Alonso has been by far the most supportive driver towards his team this year. He has played the #1 role inside the team superbly, constantly saying that it was the best team on the track. The fact that Montezemolo melted on good words for Alonso after each race proves that.

          On the Germany 2010 GP matter. You should know that drivers can defend their position differently, more or less aggressively. Probably in the briefing, Ferrari told Massa to take it easy if Alonso was “faster than him”. He obviously didn’t do it (Alonso tried to overtake him before complain) and that’s why Alonso yelled on the radio. Now, whether you like what Ferrari was doing with their drivers or not, that’s all Massa’s fault. The same way it’s Massa’s fault to say “I could end up in a better position” after EVERY race he had to give up his position to Alonso (3 times this year I think).

          In my opinion, the problem with Massa is that he doesn’t shallow his role on the team. I’m not saying he should give up. On the contrary, he should believe in himself and try beat Alonso at every race. He should stop crying about his #2 condition, deal with it and fight to turn it around. Massa has proved to be his wort enemy, playing mind games with himself.

          On the other hand, I totally agree that Alonso should have referred to Massa’s help explicitly after the race. Not because Massa deserved it more than any other guy of the team (he was just doing his job and he knew this when he signed the contract), but to keep up with his #1 role on the team and perhaps have a word to the one that needed it more at that time. He’s not perfect, and that’s one more mistake to add up to his list.

          1. @marcos Alonso has clearly put blame on the car regularly as well as the stewards and other drivers – blame has been freely sprinkled anywhere he can find an excuse. I think that, much like Hamilton, he should concentrate on driving and keep his mouth shut (which is, possibly, hard when you are constantly being questioned by the press though).

            If he just let his driving do the talking I would have much more respect for him. He is, after all, a two-time world champion and finished a very deserving and respectable 2nd place in this years championship – he has nothing to be ashamed of and shouldn’t feel the need to blame anyone for anything.

            I’m glad that at least he hasn’t stooped as low as to actually blame Massa for anything (that I’m aware of) unlike some Alonso supporters on here!

      2. @commendatore

        That’s a ridiculous statement.

        Did you not see a masterful piece of driving and teamwork when Massa allowed Alonso past himself and Webber?

        1. @mike
          One swallow does not make a summer.

  3. As always, taking in and communicating all the positives. I mean, there is really no way looking at losing a title more positively than taking into account his downforce deficiencies on one lap in particular and looking at the points tally in light of this.

    He kind of takes a unique viewpoint at defeats, the one from this they are the most positive and processes them that way. Very wise approach. I mean positive thinking kind of draws positive things in. Clearly, that machinery needed a lot of external conditons to run positively for this points tally to be gained.

    Arguably, he really became exhausted by the end of the season. He had that look in India, he made little uncharacteristic mistakes and Massa arguably over-performed him in the USA and in Brazil.

  4. He sure can. I rate him as the best driver of the grid, and he’s always taking as much as possible from every situation.

    Some might say he’s lucky sometimes, or that it’s not true that he outperforms his car. But, well, I think there were way too many examples of his excellence this season.

    And we got to remember that this car was really a dog at the start of the season, and he jumped into the lead of the championship quite quickly. We saw him on podium 13? times…

    Is he arrogant? surely, but that’s his mentality. He was sure he’d get on podium today, even from 7th on the grid, and he was 3rd after 2 laps in the dry… that’s not just driving, that’s the way he fights. And bear in mind I’m not a fan of his, but I respect the guy a lot…

  5. Well for sure, he can say it cause it’s true. But well, they can also lose the title with a little bit slower car.
    And they can even lose the title while having the fastest car – McLaren?
    I’m happy he keeps ‘seeing things’ positive, but well I guess he has to. He has to drive next year aswell for this Ferrari team, hopefully for El Nano they get a bit quicker car at the start of next season.
    But personally, I really liked Nando in the underdog position, seeing him trying to gain and fight for it!

    1. I loved Nando 2003-2006 edition (ever since the 2003 Brazil Grand Prix where he really caught my eye). But from 2007 whilst I continued to see how good a driver he was I could never enjoy the way he went about trying to ruthlessly, his involvement in almost every controversy over the last few years and now the way he always blames the car and tells us how he got the “maximoom we could espect” out of it (even when he is slower than his team-mate). Vettel is the new Alonso.

      1. Your posts to this article have all been well-informed and down right refreshing. Feel free to post as many comments and as detailed as you can, many of us find it very enjoyable to read. And oh, dont forget to include the “maximoom we could espect” jokes!

  6. As a huge Alonso fan I remember in 2010 feeling upset but also angry, because I knew Alonso had dropped points. This season Alonso produced the most impressive season I’ve ever seen and all I can feel is pride that Alonso has done everything that was possible. Red Bull produced a better car, but Alonso has proven why he’s a true all time great.

    To ensure I kept perspective today I wore my Gilles Villeneuve t-shirt to remind myself that even the greatest driver of all time never won the F1 world championship and that there are things more important than the world championship. Alonso may not have won the championship this year, but he proved that he’s one of the very best racing drivers that have ever lived.

    1. Fantastically said. I don’t know where people think this is arrogance from Alonso, especially relative to Vettel over the course of the season. He’s a fighter, always has been, always will be.

    2. Couldn”t have put it better myself. If numbers of titles were all that mattered, Schumacher would be the undisputed #1 driver of all time, Stirling Moss would be rated lower than Jenson Button and Clark would be rated lower than Piquet.

      Its sad Alonso lost the title this year, but he has silenced a lot of critics with his performance, and gained a lot of fans and respect which was lost during his controversial years. The 2012 season would have been rubbish without the efforts of Fernando.

  7. They could have won THIS title with a slower car. Great driving by Alonso, but let’s not forget that this has been a crazy season, eight different winners, seven in the first seven races. That helps a lot if you don’t have a fast, but reliable car.

    There hasn’t been a car consistenly faster than anyone else in 2012. Once it is Mclaren, the race after that it’s Red Bull, then it’s Williams and then even Ferrari sometimes. So consistency played a huge role and big congratulations to Ferrari and Fernando for that.

    But that doesn’t mean that they could have won 2011, for instance. Their gap to the front was probably quite similar, but they lost the championship with five races to go. It depends on the season, on what the others are doing.

  8. The main reason Alonso and Ferrari got so close to winning the title is because the two better teams, Red Bull and McLaren, had reliability issues and Ferrari was lucky to benefit from them. Ferrari on the other hand had 0 reliability issues.

    Alonso is a top driver no doubt, but you just cannot expect to win in a slower car, unless you rely on the misfortunes of those in faster cars. And that’s really not the best way to win championships.

    1. If we are talking about the team as a whole, rather than the driver, then reliability for the most part becomes an effect of their efforts, rather than been incidental.

  9. If he had been the best driver this season, then perhaps he could have won the title. From about Japan onwards his performance has been lacklustre, and one could argue Massa had been driving better than him. It’s horrific of him to claim, as he has done throughout the whole season that the car is as poor as he claims. Out of the top 3 teams, Ferrari had the best reliability, had the strongest wet-weather pace, and a car that was on par with the Red Bulls in outright pace in many races this season. McLaren had the fastest car yet lost both titles, despite Hamilton being flawless on the track all season long. To me, it almost sounds like Alonso is trying to make himself sound like he is too good for that team, reminiscent of Lauda and Prost (who were both subsequently sacked) and it is greatly tarnishing his image and reputation as a person.

    1. Alonso is trying to make himself sound like he is too good for that team

      I dont think there is any doubt that he is too good for the team.

      1. Then do you think he should start his own team? I don’t see another option if he is too good for Ferrari and McLaren, and we both know how it would end up at Red Bull… :)

        Irony off.

        1. Kimi would have won the title in that ferrari

          1. He would have also finished behind Massa

  10. No, the results just proved that you could not win the title with slower qualifying car, so just shut up and put up with the results you got out in the championship 2nd,…Massa was faster than you today and in Texas, but he had to let you go by besides ’cause Ferrari is not a fair player…they usually destroy the supporting driver…today even Weber gave Vettel a hard time…I would say more than once…and this is coming from a former tiffossi , I’ll support Ferrari when Alonso is a goner.

    1. and this is coming from a former “”tiffossi””

      That’s obvious

  11. Alonso had a competitive car in almost every race of the season. It wasn’t dominant at any point of the season, but other teams had their ups and downs.

    Red Bull didn’t trully get their act together before Singapore – and what did Vettel then? Well, he won four races in a row, got on podium after starting from 24th position, finished second and then claimed the 6th position that he needed to claim his third championship. On other words, he took the maximum out of his car and used the opportunities he got.

    At the same time, Alonso occasionally needed team orders in order to finish before his team mate and Massa took a penalty in order to benefit Alonso. His team also hinted that his car was capable of taking better qualifying positions at times, and he also made a mistake in Japan, which resulted DNF.

    And no, I’m not saying Alonso wasn’t great this season. I’m just saying that maybe he isn’t the flawless driving god he thinks he is, maybe there were times when he didn’t take “the maximum out of his car” as he claims, and maybe the 2nd place in the championship is what he deserved this season.

    1. and maybe you are right

  12. Doesn’t Ferrari get magic bonus money in addition to a check for their result in the WCC?

    How is it a point of pride for Ferrari to produce an inferior car and come in second? For a team with such a position of privilege and advantage within F1, the most “complete” driver on the grid, and a dutiful no. 2 driver making life easier for everyone, how is this arrogance justified?

  13. Can he ****. Blew a 44pt lead with a very decent race car. Suzuka will haunt him like Webbers Korea 2010

  14. ofcourse you can. when the fastest car is unreliable and their pit-crew is a mess and the second fastest car also suffers from alternate failures.

    1. second fastest – start of the season. perhaps even further down.

  15. I wonder when people will finally realise that Alonso is the most overrated driver of the era. One who won both of his WDCs due to superior tyre advantage and opponent’s engine blow should never complain about someone else having more of less competetive car.

    I mean, he is a great driver, but not that great his fans consider him to be. He needs to totally dog his teammate in order to perform, even more than Schu, and the only time he had an equal driver in the second car, he got beaten and kept whining about not being favourised by the team, instead of stepping up his own game.

    Alonso fans, please face it.

  16. Honestly, the amount of insanely deluded Alonso hate here, why don’t we just call this site Vettel/Hamilton Fanatic and be done with it?

    1. I think it’s fair to say that his and Ferrari’s comments provide more than good fuel for what you call a flame :)

    2. Alonso doesnt need fans when he already has everyones respect.

  17. Oh, man. So out of the world some of the anti-alonso comments here.

    So many of you think that Ferrari had an equal to the 2 top teams. Have you seen any qualifying seasson this year? The car performance in Qs resulted in starting most of the races between P5 and P8 (normal grid P) thus Alo making it 13 times to the podium. By the time he got passed the top qualifyers were out of range balanced by outstaning starts and sometimes fails (boxes, alternators, all of it part of the races. Wehre’s the luck?)
    Q2 Brazil: Alo 9th, Massa 10th in his favourite track. That says alot.

    We have continously seen ex/-drivers and expert on the press praising Alo’s performance throught out the seasson yet many here are of course a lot wiser.

    Another great argument that made me laugh, Alo would’t be second without Massa’s help. Memory is short as we just had 2 races: how many points have Massa taken from Vettel to help Alo win the WDC? How many has Webber taken from Alo to serve Vet his 3rd?

    AT last but not least, huge praisals to RB team for the car design but don’t forget that reliability is part of the same. It’s no luck in others failing to finish the race. Altough Ive to admit that that car is indestructible when crashing, can´t believe no performance difference after Senna’s incident (of course, Senna to blame but Vet is THE sportsman of the F1).

    Fernando was sad when press conference having finished so close to his 3rd tittle sitting on an inferior machine with a team colleague that took only a few points from his rival. But 100% if his words are just true!

    I’m aware it must hurt to Vettel and his fans not to be recognised by the F1 world as the best driver and just the lucky boy who got the right sit in the right moment. Adrian Newey is the genius in that team as Alonso is in Ferrari, we all know.

    1. Vettels car was compromised after the crash – we saw evidence of this as the track dried out, it has been reported on etc. His car was clearly was not as fast as Alonso’s Ferrari yet when the conditions where slippery and the drivers come to the fore, Vettel was simply sensational cutting his way through the field and catching back up to Alsonso in an inferior car just before the first SC.
      Glad you point the fact out that reliability is part of the game – so is speed. Ferrari had the most reliable car this season, that was there strength – just because they did not have outright speed on a Saturday does not mean there car was inferior when all is taken into account over the entire race weekend – in fact Alonso would have won the championship if he managed to finish every race like Kimi – and Ferrari would have won the Constructors if Massa had a half decent start to the season. Ferrari had their strengths and they almost paid off, F1 these days rewards consistency over speed. The fastest car is not necessarily the best – ask McLaren where it got them…
      At the end of the day though, Fernanado is right, his words are true… And strangely it is Vettel who proved his proved his point by being crowned Champion in a car slower (than the McLarens) – looks like the boy thought you and Fernanado a lesson ;-)

  18. Massa was in second after the first corner – I never saw how he dropped back behind the McLaren of Button on my feed – did he do it on purpose to help Alonso? I have always wondered why team tactics are not used more, such as when Massa was clearly trying to hold back the pack and Webber shortly after the start etc. You would think with teams spending millions to find a tenth they could “sacrifice” one driver to manipulate the race (not like Piquet Jnr) – but perhaps short fuelling him so he can get track position and manipulate the pace etc. Webber this year in Monaco could easily have helped out Vettel but Redbull chose not too, why not when team order are now allowed?

  19. The cynic inside me says that Ferrari and Alonso proved nothing…as they didn’t actually win the championship! I get what he’s saying, he’s saying that he would need severe misfortune for his competitors in order to have a good chance but he can’t say that his performance this year proves anything.

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