It’s now more a question of when, rather than if, Sebastian Vettel will win a fourth straight Formula One championship.
Before the midseason break a few weeks ago, there was talk that the Red Bull driver could be still be caught by Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso and a resurgent Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Two races and two wins later, Vettel is so far ahead of both that the guessing game now is at which of the seven remaining races he will wrap up the title.
Vettel, however, refuses to look too far ahead.
“I don’t go for predictions. I go for facts, and fact is that mathematically a number of scenarios are still possible,” Vettel said.
Vettel’s impressive win at Sunday’s Italian GP, where he overcame a difficult start and late gearbox trouble, moved him 53 points ahead of Alonso and 81 clear of Hamilton.
Only a monumental collapse by Vettel will give either a chance of catching him. Given that the German has won three of the past four races that seem increasingly unlikely.
Alonso seemed to be clinging for fading hope, saying “in a way, it was exactly the same last year.”
But Red Bull is more reliable than Ferrari was last season, and much faster. Also, Vettel has managed at least a podium in six of the past seven races and only failed to score points in five of the past 51.
The race in Singapore in two weeks is more likely to have a bearing on who finishes the championship in second and third.
Alonso is 28 points ahead of Hamilton, who has failed to recapture the form that saw him, win the Hungarian GP, and only 11 points separate Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber in sixth.