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The State of the Championship [merged]


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#1 BennyJohnson

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:04

It's 30th May, 2011. We've just had a Monaco race which was won by Sebastian Vettel, with his closest rival coming 6th and now trailing him by 58 points.

I'm not a huge fan of presuming the championship is over, especially after only the 6th race of a potential 20, but the truth is, it's looking for more ominous.

Let's start with the basics:

The RB7, and why it can continue to win

in 2009, we saw the Brawn GP team write a similar story to what is unfolding, it was built on sound strategy, and a very quick car. Button went on to take that championship with a race to spare. But we all know what happened, the other teams caught up. Red Bull started showing it's true pace, and McLaren rejigged it's car to be competitive, as well as win's being taken away by Ferrari.

So that championship came alive, the difference here is that Red Bull have the capacity to continue to build upon a very quick car, as we saw last year. RBR kept their advantage until the last race, where things seemed to even out, fortunately for them, they solved their biggest problem, without losing any speed, and that was race ending reliability. It's a different story this year, with KERS still being on top of their to do list, but it doesn't end their races, in reality, it doesn't even stop them from winning, and as the season progresses, we are going to see that problem solved.

So Red Bull can stay quick, but that doesn't mean that the championship is sewn up, this is Formula 1 after all, the only prediction you can make is that it is going to be unpredictable... or is it?

Canada, and why it's so crucial

we head to Canada next race, which will arguably be the first real chance that McLaren and Ferrari can take a win away from Vettel. The straight line speed has lacked for Red Bull, and Canada is a low-downforce, high speed circuit, if Red Bull don't have KERS, you can safely assume pole and the race win will be an unlikelyhood, but what if they do?

I've said it numerous times, the strength of the Red Bull is that it inspires confidence. In qualifying, with the DRS and KERS, straight line speed for a team like Red Bull becomes much less of a disadvantage, we could very well still see Vettel dominate qualifying like he has done so many times before, and then theres the race, all Vettel needs is for the 2nd and 3rd driver's on the grid to have a scrap, and he's away, and we know what happens once he cruises off into the distance. He tends to stay there, but why is Canada so crucial, well it's because of the next races.

Valencia, Silverstone, Germany, Hungary. 4 races where Red Bull will have, again, a MASSIVE advantage due to it's significantly stronger Aero package. Tracks where the predicting the result is far more straight forward.

Vettel can easily take maximum points from all 4 circuits, and that will be the definining point in the championship. The championship isn't going to be decided at the last few races, it's going to be decided in the next few months. The next 5 races are going to be so unbeliveably crucial to this year's Championship, because it's when Vettel has to be stopped. If he grabs maximum points from these races, he will be well and truely home and hosed. He can then be conservative in places like Spa and Monza, tracks which Red Bull will probably not do so well, maintain the massive lead he built from the races before the mid-year break, and take a very comfortable 2nd championship.

On top of that, further reason the assault needs to be mounted now is because after the skirmish in Singapore, we go back to tracks that again suit Vettel and the Red Bull. Korea, Japan, Brazil and even India, which looks like it's 2nd and 3rd sectors were crafted specifically for the Red Bull.

If any body want's to catch Vettel, it has to be done now, the bulk of the expenditure has to go into workable upgrades that will help Hamilton, Button and Alonso catch him before we get to the break, and Webber has to come to grips with the tyres if he wants any chance.

My point is this, this championship, while it may look like a domination is coming to it's most interesting part, where in fact, although the title isn't being given to a driver, it's being decided.

Stay glued to your tele for the next couple of races, because they will be the best of the year. Driver's will take risks because they now have to, and that's why the next 5 races will decide the victor.

Edited by BennyJohnson, 30 May 2011 - 02:06.


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#2 Seanspeed

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:08

Its not over yet, but I certainly dont expect a driver like Vettel to throw everything away. Its reminiscent of 2009 where Button gained enough of a lead early on, that even with a VERY lackluster 2nd half of the season, couldn't be beaten. I dont expect Vettel to falter like Button, and I dont expect Red Bull to suddenly be so weak at places like Brawn were that year.

I would be very surprised if Vettel doesn't become a 2-time World Champion this year. VERY surprised.

#3 Jazza

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:14

There is a good chance that McLaren would of won the last two races had they not been at tracks that passing is near impossible at.

The Red Bull is looking more and more like a one lap qualifier, and it's true speed is very overrated. This championship can change very quickly.

#4 ClubmanGT

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:15

There is a good chance that McLaren would of won the last two races had they not been at tracks that passing is near impossible at.

The Red Bull is looking more and more like a one lap qualifier, and it's true speed is very overrated. This championship can change very quickly.


I think we would be seeing a much more interesting championship if/when the EBDs are banned.

#5 Dunder

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:23

Its not over yet, but I certainly dont expect a driver like Vettel to throw everything away. Its reminiscent of 2009 where Button gained enough of a lead early on, that even with a VERY lackluster 2nd half of the season, couldn't be beaten. I dont expect Vettel to falter like Button, and I dont expect Red Bull to suddenly be so weak at places like Brawn were that year.

I would be very surprised if Vettel doesn't become a 2-time World Champion this year. VERY surprised.


2009 is not a bad comparison actually. A dominant car in the early part of the season and a teammate who has not managed to get the best from it.

I think Vettel will only be seriously pressed in the championship if the rules on the off-throttle overrun are changed (seems likely from Silverstone) and prove to have a severe (relative) negative effect on RBR which I personally think is unlikely.

I do think that Red Bull will struggle in Canada but only due to the characteristics of the track.

The best chance for McLaren and Ferrari (IMHO) would be to manufacture a situation at the TWG whereby they manage to get the entire EBD concept outlawed after Canada on the basis that any halfway measure is inconsistent/ungovernable. That would not be very fair IMHO but it would be very F1 and could well shake up the running order.


#6 RoryF1

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:24

As much as I hate to say it, this thing is over. With the lead Vettel has and Lewis so angry he's not driving rationally this thing is done. I have no faith in Button and I feel Alonso/Ferrari is hit or miss. Just call the mercy rule

#7 intothepits

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:54

It's true, RB is looking strong throughout the year, but yes a situation could develop where other cars catchup, similar to the 2009 Brawn situation, but Vettel already has a big lead, and it could likely continue for the next 3 or 4 races, which if other cars do catch up, the RB will still be in a decent position when it comes to points anyway, so Vettel can do a 2009 Button and just cruise in decent positions throughout the remainder of the year to keep his top WDC position.

But still a while to go, who knows what will go down.

Edited by intothepits, 30 May 2011 - 02:55.


#8 Birelman

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 03:19

What could be a very scary prospect for everyone else, is, if this continues, and Vettel can gain 100 point lead in the next 5, 6 races, RBR can start work on next year's car 100%.

#9 DILLIGAF

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 03:52

Its not over yet, but I certainly dont expect a driver like Vettel to throw everything away. Its reminiscent of 2009 where Button gained enough of a lead early on, that even with a VERY lackluster 2nd half of the season, couldn't be beaten. I dont expect Vettel to falter like Button, and I dont expect Red Bull to suddenly be so weak at places like Brawn were that year.

I would be very surprised if Vettel doesn't become a 2-time World Champion this year. VERY surprised.


^^This

#10 Reverend

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 04:00

Vettel has won it and I would rather he gets it early so he could put us out of our misery and we can just enjoy racing with drivers having nothing to lose. Hopefully he can close the deal in September

#11 mymemoryfails

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 06:21

Well I am holding on to hope that Webber can come through and take the WDC!

I know it's unrealistic, but stranger things have happened.

I will admit that Vettel absolutely looks the goods so far in 2011. I can't quite imagine what would have to happen for him not to win. Even a few dnfs it seems like he can overcome by winning the following races.

However I also remember Alonso's confidence when more than 40 points down last year, nearly proved right. The McLarens look strong. Webber is scoring points, admittedly not anything like 2010.

My main point is that it is only six races in - there's a long way to go. Sure Seb may well win twelve in a row, but I havent given up on Webbo!

mymemoryfails



#12 Bleu

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:31

Vettel's domination is made bigger by the fact that other drivers have had their ups and downs very much. Hamilton and Button have three podiums each, Alonso and Webber two and Renault guys one each.

#13 Stormsky68

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:33

Baring stupidity of DNF's, Vetel will walk the championship, and I expect next year too.

2013 rule change will reshuffle the pack of cars again and then it depends who hits the new rule design sweet spot first, I think possibly Ferrari....

#14 Birelman

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:36

Vettel's domination is made bigger by the fact that other drivers have had their ups and downs very much. Hamilton and Button have three podiums each, Alonso and Webber two and Renault guys one each.

Yeap! exactly! there hasn't been a clear pattern develop behind him which has amplified his lead quite a bit. I think that's the way it was in 09 too, if memory serves me, no clear pattern behind Button at the early stages.

#15 stanga

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:39

The problem for the chasing pack is the qualification pace. It seems that every Sunday, Red Bull have had clear air and could control the proceedings even when followed by quicker car. They've also had the best of luck and been pretty flawless at pit-stops etc.

Sadly, any changes that may affect that situation will come too late. It's a shame, since I prefer to watch races that actually mean something in terms of the season.

#16 Cesc

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:40

I honestly think that the only one consistent enoguh to fight for the championship is Alonso, but the Ferrari is light years behind the Red Bull. Hamilton is extremely talented, but he loses his head two or three races during a championship long and Button and Webber (???) are not fast enough... Vettel will win easily the champ. Still, not everything is going to be as easy as it has been so far. Remember that in 2006, Alonso was leading with a significant difference, uad won 6 out of the first 9 races (and three seconds) and finally everything was veery close, with a much faster Ferrari. But that year there were more variables. This year, with the same tires, no testing at all... uf...

#17 Stormsky68

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:42

I honestly think that the only one consistent enoguh to fight for the championship is Alonso, but the Ferrari is light years behind the Red Bull. Hamilton is extremely talented, but he loses his head two or three races during a championship long and Button and Webber (???) are not fast enough... Vettel will win easily the champ. Still, not everything is going to be as easy as it has been so far. Remember that in 2006, Alonso was leading with a significant difference, uad won 6 out of the first 9 races (and three seconds) and finally everything was veery close, with a much faster Ferrari. But that year there were more variables. This year, with the same tires, no testing at all... uf...


That year the FIA stepped in to manipulate the championship and allow Ferrari to close

#18 Cesc

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:50

That year the FIA stepped in to manipulate the championship and allow Ferrari to close


Well, that was one of the variables :-P

But towards the end of the year the Bridgestone tires were much faster than the Michelin ones. I think that was the biggest factor.

#19 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:55

As long as the on-track product is close, I don't care about who's where in the points.

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#20 AlanWake

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:58

But towards the end of the year the Bridgestone tires were much faster than the Michelin ones. I think that was the biggest factor.


Except in the wet races, of course :)

#21 Concorde

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:05

As long as the on-track product is close, I don't care about who's where in the points.

Same here I couldn't care less if Seb Vettel sews up the championship in Spa or Monza as long as we get to see some exciting and close racing.

#22 SCUDmissile

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:28

if the ban on EBDs dont affectr them at all, then its over. but i cant see that happening.

#23 kosmos

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:32

The championship is Vettel to lose. If he win in Canada and Valencia, it's probably over for real. My only concern it's to have good races, not Vettel pulling a 40 sec gap to the second in every race, because if Ferrari and McLaren drop the development of their cars a little, that could happen.



#24 Group B

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:37

I suspect the Mac has more development left in it that the RB, so Vettel could very well end up having to defend the lead he's built up thus far.

#25 Hulkster

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:41

The Red Bull isn't going to just stop being fast, even if others get faster. Vettell will surely get a couple of more wins at minimum and will pretty much always be on the podium barring incidents.

For someone to beat him to the title they would have to win at least 10 of the remaining races, and that's flat out not gonna happen.

I said yesterday that the title ended with Hamilton's problems in Q3 but really it ended before the season even started when McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes turned up at the first race with cars that were too far behind Red Bull. Even if they catch up now, Vettel has used that early advantage to build too big a lead.

#26 Cesc

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:49

For me the championship ended when Webber was ligth years from Vettel. I don't understand that. In 2009 and 2010 Webber was very close...or in front of Vettel many times. This year he is 0.5 sec behind regularly.

#27 jerriy

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:49

That year the FIA stepped in to manipulate the championship and allow Ferrari to close

Someone is busy this year as well (leaking radio transmissions for example).

Edited by jerriy, 30 May 2011 - 09:01.


#28 zeph

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:56

For me the championship ended when Webber was ligth years from Vettel. I don't understand that. In 2009 and 2010 Webber was very close...or in front of Vettel many times. This year he is 0.5 sec behind regularly.


Not really, during the races he has been faster quite a few times. Yesterday he set the fastest lap. But he has been off the pace in qualifying (except in Spain, but that was a fluke on Vettel's part). He has been relegated to no.2 status by RBR and I'm sure they're happy to keep it this way. I doubt they'd want a repeat of 2010.


#29 H2H

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 09:42


It is still a very long way and DNFs and crashes can heavily impact the standings. Seb is certainly making the most out of the car and if he keeps winning even such difficult races like Monaco and Spain with such pace, craft and coolness it will be very difficult for the other drivers. RBR will certainly fight tooth-and-nail in the dev. race and have the team and ressources to back it up.

So it looks good for a Seb WDC and a RBR WCC, but there will be plenty of hard races to come

#30 Cinquecento

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:18

2010 - Vettel wins WDC with 256 points.

2011 - six races into season Vettel's got 143 pts (56 %).

Vettel would need 8,7 points per race to end up where he did last year. That's 5th or 6th place in each race for the rest of the season. Unless he's injured, it's over.

#31 DarthWillie

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:21

I think Vettel's point lead is a bit flattered. He could so easily have lost the last two race. Biggest problem is Button/Hamilton/Alonso are taking points from eachother, neither is finishing second or third every race.. Button is in my opinion to dependant on his car behaving like he wants it to stay in the championship till the end. The Ferrari is not quick enough on too many tracks, they have to develop it very fast, as RBR is not throwing away points like last year.. Hamilton should be Vettels biggest opponent. He just needs to clear his head after yesterday.

Canada will probably not be a RBR race, but just like Monza they know that, will be damage limitation. But after that they should be in the hunt again. Other teams will have to worry if their KERS starts working.

I feel it is not over yet, they can't give Vettel many more points.

#32 gerry nassar

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:39

I think you have to be realistic, and that is Vettel will win the championship in 2011. Now, will the season get closer than it is now? Yes, very likely but not enough for Vettel to lose the championship.

#33 dissonance

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:53

If you can find a bookie silly enough to offer you 1c for your dollar on Vettel - take it.

Its all over.

#34 Disgrace

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:55

The championship is over. Whilst 2009 makes a good comparison, you have to keep in mind that was a Honda team in disguise who has been exposed again as Mercedes. They're not really a top team and they didn't have the funds/resources after the resources cap to develop the Brawn car. Red Bull has no such obstacle, the car is even more dominant than the Brawn was and Vettel is much more of a "great" driver than Button who is merely "very good" and choked up on the pressure.

#35 Dunder

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:58

If you can find a bookie silly enough to offer you 1c for your dollar on Vettel - take it.

Its all over.


The current market would give you 17c for your dollar so taking 1c would be daft in the extreme!


#36 showtime

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:58

It's all over unless something bad happens to Vettel and I think (and hope) we already have reached the quote of injured drivers for a long time.

#37 bogi

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 12:04

Webber is useless.

#38 wingwalker

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 12:13

In 2009 Brawn had a fantastic car out of the box (remember that first test of theirs? no one could believe what is going on) but having been given green light so late in the pre-season, they weren't going to be able to match up other top teams development skill. Plus, Honda wasn't never a top team. The 'problem' (or the lack of it) was that there was no other driver/team to pick up the points dropped by Brawn, hence they were getting closer to the title with each race, despite dropping points left and right.

2011? Well, it ain't over 'till its over, but I can hardly imagine Red Bull suddenly dropping off big time, and much like in 2009, it looks like there is a couple of drivers waiting to take the points from Vettel, who I think is mature enough by now to know what to do, even if he is not winning races.

Edited by wingwalker, 30 May 2011 - 12:13.


#39 velgajski1

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 13:39

I think that at this point its 90% that Vettel win walk with it.

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#40 Atreiu

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 13:49

Vettel has the WDC to lose. He's alreayd in a position in which he can afford to not win some races as long as he's on the podium and scoring big points.
Everyone else needs a good string of results AND Vettel to lose form suddenly and significantly, which seems very unlikely.

I'd say Vettel has 80% odds, all the rest together have 20%.

#41 SK99

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 13:56

Vettel is making hay while the sun shines.

Edited by SK99, 30 May 2011 - 13:59.


#42 Lights

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:00

If McLaren can absolutely maximize their points, and I'm talking about a serious 1-2 here, at Montreal and Valencia, they still have a shot at it.

If they don't manage that, it's over and Vettel will definitely win it. Mainly because if McLaren can't succeed at these two tracks to take big points away from Vettel, they can't do it elsewhere either.

Edited by Lights, 30 May 2011 - 14:02.


#43 Sakae

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:10

It is still a very long way and DNFs and crashes can heavily impact the standings. Seb is certainly making the most out of the car and if he keeps winning even such difficult races like Monaco and Spain with such pace, craft and coolness it will be very difficult for the other drivers. RBR will certainly fight tooth-and-nail in the dev. race and have the team and ressources to back it up.

So it looks good for a Seb WDC and a RBR WCC, but there will be plenty of hard races to come



Canada is one of them - for McLaren to loose it. It's their track at the moment. If Sebi gets podium, I would be satisfied with P3.

#44 Owen

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:13

A period of McLaren dominance along with an FIA ruling would turn it round. But being realistic, I can't see it (as much as I would like it). :well:


#45 MarkLaw

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:15

It certainly isn't a foregone conclusion and this is formula 1 after all! It could have been a different story yesterday for Vettel if the safety car hadn't have come out at the end.

#46 2ms

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:34

In the last couple races McL looked like they may be faster than the RB7. And they won the one before that (China). The season is not even 1/3rd of the way in yet! Button was unlucky not to win Monaco and Vettel was not only lucky to not have been beaten by Button, but he also may have even been caught by Alonso had it not been for Red Flag.

The truth of the matter may be that McL turn out to have had the best car in F1 2011 for all but the first 3 or so races.

So all this doom's day talk is insane. Luck generally even out. Vettel's had the good luck so far. Button the bad luck. Hami only needs to calm the hell down and drive sensibly. This could very well be a season where it turns out McL has the best equipment for the entire season but around 3 races out of 20. With a little less luck for Vettel and a little better driving at McL, McL could win both championships.

This is not at all 2009. 2009 was completely screwed by the DDD. The DDD was something that a car needs to be designed around, so everyone who didn't have it at season's beginning was screwed from the outset. No team this year has any such fundamentally decisive advantage as Brawn did in 2009. In fact, McL may already have the best car with it only being concealed by the tides of luck and a patch of shoddy driving. There are 20 races this year! On top of all these things, there are major question marks regarding Red Bull's KERS.

Edited by 2ms, 30 May 2011 - 14:36.


#47 Reverend

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:40

If McLaren can absolutely maximize their points, and I'm talking about a serious 1-2 here, at Montreal and Valencia, they still have a shot at it.

If they don't manage that, it's over and Vettel will definitely win it. Mainly because if McLaren can't succeed at these two tracks to take big points away from Vettel, they can't do it elsewhere either.



I cant see how McLaren would challenge RB in Valencia

#48 ImDDAA

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:48

All it takes is a Hamilton win and a Vettel DNF and suddenly the picture changes a lot, nothing is decided yet but Vettel is clearly the extreme favourite at the moment.

#49 Kubiccia

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:55

Its not over yet, but I certainly dont expect a driver like Vettel to throw everything away. Its reminiscent of 2009 where Button gained enough of a lead early on, that even with a VERY lackluster 2nd half of the season, couldn't be beaten. I dont expect Vettel to falter like Button, and I dont expect Red Bull to suddenly be so weak at places like Brawn were that year.

I would be very surprised if Vettel doesn't become a 2-time World Champion this year. VERY surprised.

this :up:

There is a good chance that McLaren would of won the last two races had they not been at tracks that passing is near impossible at.

The Red Bull is looking more and more like a one lap qualifier, and it's true speed is very overrated. This championship can change very quickly.


:rotfl:

The dog mp4-26 only had better pace in Barcelona. In Monaco Vettel had way more pace and got screwed by his pit. At the begining Vettel quickly vanished in front of Jay-Bee and Fernando baby was being held by the crappy Mclaren.

But keep dreaming that the chrome little car is anything good.

Edited by Kubiccia, 30 May 2011 - 14:56.


#50 Lights

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 14:55

I cant see how McLaren would challenge RB in Valencia

They did reasonable last year. And Barrichello beat them in 2009. Valencia is not a typical high-downforce track, McLaren will fear other circuits way more.