No time for error.
With F1 headed to India in less than 4 days, the Championship race has reached a point of near-perfection, especially for the loyal Indian fans of this sport.
Let us take a look at various scenarios that could occur over the last 4 races (including the Indian GP), and predictions of how the 2012 F1 season could shape up in its final run. Sebastian Vettel leads Fernando Alonso by 6 points after the Korean GP, where Vettel completed his comeback with 3 wins on the trot- the first time a driver has managed to do so in a topsy turvy 2012.
-If Vettel follows up his 2011 Indian GP F1 victory with another one this year, and Alonso finishes within the top 3- the lead could go into double figures at either 11 points (if Alonso finishes second) or 16 points (if Alonso repeats his 3rd place). A gap of 16 points would be difficult to bridge with 3 races left, unless Vettel runs out of reliability luck and hands Alonso something on the platter. But with Red Bull’s storming form lately, it is hard to look at any other outcome but a podium finish for the German superstar.
Which Red will it be?
The United States Grand Prix could be where it is all decided, this time, held in Austin. Prediction: Vettel could finish behind one of the McLarens (who are due) at India, and then win one of the next 2 races at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix or the US Grand Prix. If he does that without crashing out in any of the races, he will secure his 3rd F1 Championship in a row ahead of the frustrated Alonso. All Vettel needs to do is stay on track, and hence, avoid Roman Grosjean at the curbs.
-If things come to a standstill in India, with Alonso somehow eeking out a victory ahead of the Red Bulls and McLarens (highly unlikely), and Vettel finishes on the podium- we could head to Abu Dhabi with a 1-point lead for Vettel, or a 6 point lead for Alonso. A win does not look on the cards for the struggling Ferrari, and Massa will have to continue his good form to support his partner and help him secure consistent top-3 finishes. And they will have to hope against hope that the law of averages catches up with Red Bull.
A win for Alonso at the Indian GP could set it up perfectly for a storming gen-ex climax to 2012. For the fans sake, we hope it goes down to the Brazilian GP, the last race of the season- like in 2010.
Time to say goodbye..
-Alonso has to make sure he doesn’t finish behind Vettel at India or Abu Dhabi. Period. If he does, the last 2 races will be a formality. But this is Formula1, and anything can happen when the drivers palms become sweaty, and their hearts beat out of their chest as soon as they see the finish line. Vettel whittled down a 28 point lead to Webber in 2010 in the last 3 races, and with the old points system (10 for a win and so on), Alonso made Schumacher’s 27 point lead in 2006 vanish into thin air.
-Raikkonen could make things interesting with a win, but it will be Hamilton or Button who storm to atleast 1 win in the next 2 races, because McLaren savour dead rubbers, after its all over. Tune in to the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit outside Greater Noida for Friday Practice, and make sure you witness the most exciting season climax in recent history.