Sebastian Vettel left for Dubai for two days of relaxation and light training while defiant Fernando Alonso used samurai warrior language to show his determination to fight the leading German until the end for the Formula One title.
“If breaks the sword, fight with your hands. If they cut your hands, push the enemy with your shoulders, even with your teeth,” the Spaniard tweeted.
His Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali had the same in mind when he compared Alonso’s fight against Vettel to Italy’s surprise title at the 1982 football World Cup.
“In 1982, the Italian football team was definitely not the strongest but went on to win that year’s World Cup. We believe in our chances and I’m sure that so do all our fans!” Both men had plenty to be proud with after Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix, in which Vettel claimed a career-first fourth straight season victory ahead of Alonso to take a 13-point lead into the final three season races, with the next on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.
Alonso impressed with the best possible result for Ferrari on the day, moving from fifth on the grid past the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, and getting the better of Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber when the Australian suffered a Kers failure.
Vettel has momentum on his side with the four victories, in which he overturned a 39-point deficit on his rival. He has now led every lap for the last three races, a feat last achieved by the late Ayrton Senna in 1989.
“It’s very, very special. I think we all will remember Ayrton forever, not just because he was successful and he had these kinds of numbers speaking for him but he was a great person. So very, very happy,” Vettel said.
But Senna never managed to win three titles in a row, which Vettel can achieve to match Juan Manuel Fangio (four between 1954 and 1957) and Michael Schumacher (five in a row 2000-2004).
However, the German firmly keeps his feet on ground and Webber’s Kers failure was a reminder that nothing can be taken for granted.
“Obviously this was another good step for us but still a long way to go and we have seen this year how quickly things can change,” Vettel said.
“It feels fantastic to be up here and have a race like that where everything works the way you want it to. That was today. Now we are focusing on Abu Dhabi. There’s a lot more to come and we’ll try to take things step by step.”
Alonso is hoping that further planned upgrades to the Ferrari will reduce their gap in qualifying and make them even more competitive in the races in Abu Dhabi, the United States (November 18) and Brazil (November 25) to get a first title since 2007.