Sebastian Vettel can seal a fourth consecutive world championship victory if he wins this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
With five rounds remaining Vettel has amassed a 77-point lead over closest rival Fernando Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton are both still mathematically capable of claiming the crown.
Vettel won his second title at Suzuka two years ago. In order to repeat the feat this year he will have to win the race – a lower finishing position for him would ensure the title is decided at a later date.
If Vettel wins, he needs Alonso to finish no higher than ninth to be crowned champion. In that event Raikkonen and Hamilton would be out of the running wherever they finishes.
Alonso’s consistent points-scoring makes that unlikely but not impossible. After all last year Vettel won the race and Alonso crashed out at the first corner (pictured) – exactly the kind of scenario which would see Vettel claim the title with four races to spare.
Red Bull are similarly closing on a fourth consecutive constructors’ championship title but they are not able to score enough points this weekend to seal the title.
2013 Japanese Grand Prix
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Image ?é?® Red Bull/Getty