Sep.1 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Yet more drivers, experts and pundits are crowning Sebastian Vettel the likely 2011 champion after his latest victory in Belgium.
At the German’s rival team McLaren, team boss Martin Whitmarsh insists giving up on the championship would not be right despite Vettel’s huge points lead.
Veteran test driver Pedro de la Rosa however acknowledges that realism could be about to set in.
“Perhaps this is the moment to forget Spa,” said the Spaniard after the Red Bull one-two, “perhaps it is even the moment to forget the drivers’ world championship”, he wrote in a column for formulasantander.com.
“Forgetting the calculator now, and accepting that there is already virtually a winner of this world championship, we can begin to think of 2012 and how to avoid at all costs the domination of Red Bull being prolonged for another season,” added de la Rosa.
Another former McLaren racer David Coulthard, now a British television commentator and Red Bull advisor, agrees that Vettel’s chasers have left their run too late.
“Ferrari and McLaren have the resources and personnel to catch Red Bull, and in fact they have done so,” he wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph.
“McLaren probably had the quickest car in Belgium at the weekend. They just didn’t get the job done.
“Seb’s lead … has almost certainly assured him of a second successive world title,” agreed the Scot.
Also succumbing to the eventual mathematics of the current points standings is ten time grand prix winner Gerhard Berger, who thinks Red Bull is right to keep its optimism under wraps for the moment.
“As long as it (defeat) is still theoretically possible, it is bad luck in sports to celebrate in advance,” he told Red Bull-linked Austrian television Servus TV.
“But for me there is no question; barring a disaster for him, this year’s world champion is Sebastian Vettel,” said Berger.