Have Fer­rari blown it?

The Week - - Sport News -

There’s no longer any doubt about whether Lewis Hamil­ton will win this year’s For­mula One World Cham­pi­onship, said An­drew Benson on BBC Sport on­line. “It’s just a ques­tion of when.” The Mercedes driver’s vic­tory in the Ja­panese Grand Prix on Sun­day ex­tended his cham­pi­onship lead over Se­bas­tian Vet­tel to 59 points – with only 100 avail­able from the sea­son’s four re­main­ing races. Just six weeks ago, Vet­tel was still in the lead – as he had been all sea­son – and it looked as if “the ti­tle fight would go to the last race”. But in the past month, his sea­son has “im­ploded... in quite as­ton­ish­ing fash­ion”. First, in the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix, Vet­tel made a “cat­a­strophic mis­judge­ment” and crashed at the start. Then, in Malaysia, the Fer­rari driver suf­fered an engine prob­lem in qual­i­fy­ing; this week, in Suzuka, a bro­ken spark plug on his car forced him to re­tire.

“Fer­rari are the most fa­mous team in F1,” said Re­becca Clancy in The Times. And they are the rich­est, with a bud­get of around £300m. Yet they have gone a decade with­out win­ning the driv­ers’ ti­tle – and now, bar­ring a mir­a­cle, they will have to wait at least an­other sea­son. “Fer­rari’s lack of re­li­a­bil­ity has be­come a bad joke,” said Tom Cary in The Daily Tele­graph. It has “sucked the oxy­gen” out of a thrilling duel for the ti­tle. If Hamil­ton beats Vet­tel by more than 16 points at the US Grand Prix, later this month, the sea­son will be “math­e­mat­i­cally over”. In truth, “it al­ready is”.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel: im­ploded

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