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Korea: Can Vettel do 4 in a row?

2013-10-02 10:56

WILL VETTEL MAKE IT FOUR IN A ROW? Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel kisses his trophy after winning the 2013 Singapore F1 GP while Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso looks on. Will Vettel do it again in Korea> Image: AFP

Peter Stebbings

Runaway F1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel can put a hand on the 2013 F1 trophy if he stretches his astonishing winning streak to four races in Korea. Or will the Ferrari's come right?

YEONGAM, South Korea - Runaway leader Sebastian Vettel can put a hand on the 2013 Formula 1 title this weekend if he succeeds in stretching his astonishing winning streak to four races here in Korea.

In Singapore in September the brilliant young German left other drivers in the distance to move 60 points clear of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and closer to a fourth consecutive championship.

With six races left, a wipe-out from his rivals would leave Vettel capable of being crowned champion next week in Japan, a triumph that would catapult him into the sport's pantheon and make Vettel, at 26, the youngest man to win four in a row, trumping Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.

Alain Prost is the only other man to win four or more titles.

13 GP's, SEVEN WINS

Vettel's consecutive wins in Belgium, Italy and Singapore have not been universally popular and he has been unsportingly booed on the podium by a section of disgruntled fans.

The German, with seven wins in 13 GP's so far in 2013, is also on for a hat trick in South Korea: he won the previous two races. However, in what could provide a glimmer of hope for his rivals, he admits the Yeongam layout is not perfect for his Red Bull.

"The track in Korea has a bit of an unusual layout. The long straights all come right at the beginning and the turns are at the end," he said. "I love the curvy part because it is a lot more fun, whereas the straight lines and sharp turns can be a little boring. They are also our weakness because we often lack in top speed there."

Alonso is the only man with a chance of reeling in Vettel, although Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg are mathematically still in the hunt.

Webber will be hampered by a 10-place grid penalty for his third reprimand of the year after he abandoned his Red Bull and hitched a ride on Alonso's Ferrari after the Singapore race. "For (Alonso) and me to receive reprimands for our actions after the race is comical to say the least," tweeted the clearly irritated Australian, who is quitting F1 and the end of this season.

RAIKKONEN A HERO

Raikkonen drove heroically with a sore back to go from 13th on the grid to third at the flag in Singapore but the Ferrari-bound Finn said he was not sure how the long-term complaint would shape up this week. "It's not the first time I've had a problem, there have been issues with my back for a long time," said the former champion, now with Lotus.

"We will have to see how it is when I get out on track on Friday."

Sunday's race will be flagged off against a background of uncertainty since the 2014 race was listed as merely "provisional" on the latest 2014 F1 calendar. The event has been notable for its difficulties - and sparse attendances - since making its debut in 2010, with Korean officials repeatedly urging F1 to slash its race fee.

Korea will be followed the next weekend by the Japanese GP on October 13, the first of three sets of challenging follow-on races as the season head for its climax.
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