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'It's anybody's game,' says Seb

2013-02-08 07:56

JEREZ, Spain - The 2013 Formula 1 title is up for grabs by anybody hungry enough for it, says Red Bull's triple World champion Sebastian Vettel.

Asked whether he still saw Britain's Lewis Hamilton as a contender now that the 2008 champion had moved from race winners McLaren to the Mercedes team that was far less competitive last year, the German nodded.

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"Yes, of course. I think the way 2012 started, with a lot of different teams and drivers winning the races, there's nothing that speaks against it happening again this year," he said at Jerez on Thursday. "The regulations haven't really changed. At some stage I think it will be getting even closer at the top and therefore everyone is in the hunt."

The 2012 season started with seven different winners from the opening seven races and ended as a duel between Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Pirelli has changed its tyre compounds for 2013 with the aim of encouraging overtaking and introducing more stops.

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Vettel cited the example of Williams, which won in Spain in 2012 because the team was fast rather than lucky and he suggested the same could happen again with less-fancied teams enjoying their moment in the spotlight.

"We have to wait and see. Even if after the last Barcelona test you have a certain favourite, it could all be different in Australia. It's a different track and a different temperature. It's going to be a long season," he said.

Vettel's view contrasted to that of Alonso, who told reporters he expected the race wins to be divided between three teams with Ferrari having to make sure it was one of them.

The season will in Melbourne, Australia on March 17.

Reuters