D he summer break is good for Sebastian Vettel. After that, the Heppenheimer wins proportionally more races than before. And he's making up ground in the World Cup. After an almost hopeless deficit, he almost caught up with Fernando Alonso. Only four points separate Vettel from the Ferrari driver. And the Red Bull currently seems to be clearly the better car.
Summer break works wonders for Vettel
In 2009, Vettel said goodbye as third in the race-free August. In the end, he almost won the world championship. In the ten races before that, he had two wins and 47 points. In the seven races that followed, there were also two wins and 37 points. The average of points per race rose from 4.7 to 5.3.
In 2010, Vettel was only third before the summer break. Seven races later he was world champion. In the twelve races before the compulsory four-week break, he had only won two Grand Prix. Then three in the seven runs. At that time, Vettel was heavily criticized for various errors. Four weeks of reflection worked wonders. He came back with a now-even more attitude. 'And I resolved not to take everything that was written so seriously.'
Alonso's lead is melting away
2011 was actually a walk through for Vettel. Still, the thread seemed somehow broken before the summer vacation. Vettel had not won three times in a row. There was already talk of a Red Bull crisis. After the vacation, Vettel returned strong. He won three Grand Prix in a row. He dominated five of the remaining eight races.
The trend continues this year as well. After the Hungarian GP, Vettel was third, as in 2010. 42 points behind Fernando Alonso, who had scored points in every Grand Prix up until then. Many saw the Spaniard as a future world champion. His Ferrari wasn't the fastest car, but it was the most balanced. And that played a trump card for Alonso in a season without favorites with five different winning teams.
In the meantime, Red Bull has deciphered the riddle of the RB8. And Ferrari is stagnating. In addition, Alonso wrote two zeros. Starting collisions eliminated him both times. There is not much left of the lead. The bookmakers no longer see him as a favorite.
Vettel does not want to think about titles
The course of this season is reminiscent of 2010. Two agoYears ago, Mark Webber led the championship standings with a ten-point lead over Vettel. At that time the Australian already seemed to be sailing towards the World Championship title, especially when he made up 18 points on his stable rivals at the Belgian GP.
Then Alonso took on the World Championship with a double strike in Monza and Singapore Top. But Vettel had found his inner peace again. And he turned it up in the last four races, got 68 out of 100 possible points and pushed Alonso and Webber from the throne.
Even the Korean engine failure could not stop Vettel. Rather the opposite. The supposed hopelessness of the situation gave him wings. Those who have nothing more to lose have a psychological advantage. The law seems to apply this year too. Vettel forbade to think about the world title. 'I'll take the races as they come.' Setbacks like the failure in Monza are motivation instead of resignation. 'Something like that only builds up the Sebastian,' confirms team advisor Helmut Marko. 'If he is put on the defensive, he is particularly good.'
Many factors speak for Red Bull
Vettel's error rate is almost zero under pressure. The opponent is getting bigger. Fernando Alonso couldn’t help that he was cleared at the start in Spa and Suzuka, but indirectly he could. Those who start from the third row run the risk of being involved in accidents. At Ferrari, the nervousness is palpable. Red Bull is on a run. McLaren makes too many mistakes and Lotus is stagnating in further development.
Two more factors speak in favor of the defending champion. There will hardly be any surprise victories. The teams learned how to do tires once. The racing strategies are thus adapted. Now it's a man-to-man battle, team to team. And Red Bull and Vettel seem to have the best cards in hand.