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Hamilton feels sorry for fans

2013-10-08 08:48

FEELING SORRY: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he feels sorry for the fans as Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel dominates F1, making it boring. Image: AFP

ALAN BALDWIN

SEOUL, South Korea - Lewis Hamilton fears Sebastian Vettel's Formula 1 dominance is becoming as much of a television turnoff for some fans as Michael Schumacher's relentless success was a decade ago.

Red Bull's Vettel is on the brink of a fourth consecutive title after winning Sunday's Korean GP from pole to take a 77-point lead over  Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with five races remaining. If Vettel wins in Japan on Sunday and Alonso is ninth or lower, it's game over for the championship.

ALREADY WON

"He's won already," Hamilton, fifth for Mercedes at Yeongam on Sunday, told British reporters. "Unless he doesn't finish the rest of the races, and even if he doesn't he has probably still won it.

"Personally I feel for the fans because I remember the period when Michael Schumacher was winning," he added. "I remember waking up in the morning to watch the start of the race and then going to sleep, and then waking up when it ended because I already knew what would happen. I am pretty sure a lot of people were doing that today."

Hamilton, the 2008 champion, has won once this season (Hungary) but Vettel has taken eight of the 14 races and is on course for his most dominant season since 2011, the year he also triumphed in Suzuka with four races to spare and went on to end the season with 11 victories, a number only Schumacher, with 13 in 2004, has exceeded.

Seven-times champion Schumacher, who won fives titles in a row for Ferrari from 2000 to 2004 also won 11 times in 2002 and racked up seven successive wins in 2004. While fans in Germany and Italy always wanted Schumacher and Ferrari to win there were many others who craved for more excitement and an end to what some sections of the news media referred to as 'Formula Yawn'.

EXCITING RACE

Sunday's race was deceptive, starting off with all the hallmarks of yet another familiar Vettel pole-to-flag victory parade but then exploding into something much more entertaining for the neutrals. Peeling tyres, two pace-car periods and the bizarre sight of a fire truck leading the field after Mark Webber's Red Bull went up in flames made it something worth setting the alarm for.

Suzuka next Sunday will be another early start for European fans, with the added thrill of it being a potential title decider. Vettel won in Japan in 2012 as well as the following round in India. The only one of the remaining races he has not previously won is the US GP in Austin, Texas, which had its debut in 2012 and was won by Hamilton for McLaren.

A record run of wins could be on the cards but Vettel said, as ever, that he was taking nothing for granted and focusing on one race at a time. "I'm trying not to think about it, to be honest," he said when asked about a fourth title. "Even though it looks very good it's still not over so we shouldn't feel too comfortable.

"Japan is one of the highlights in the year but, regarding the championship, I think our target is to win the championship and not to win it in one place in particular."

Meanwhile, Hamilton has been reading media reports such as those in Wheels24 and here's what he said in his Tweets on Tuesday (Oct 8).

@lewishamilton: "Good morning all. Read some of the stories/reports of my comments on Seb. Feel the need to clarify my thoughts. Seb is great champion!!

"Not only that, he is a great human being who is funny and humble. Deserves all the success he is having!

"I admire his dedication & ability to consistently perform without mistakes. This is the mark of a true champion.

"Regardless of what you & I may think about his car, at the end of the day he's doing the perfect job.

"I'm just grateful I get to drive in an era with so many great drivers like him. God Bless & have an amazing day!"

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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