• Korean Grand Prix

Alonso and Vettel not ruling out Hamilton

ESPN Staff
October 11, 2012 « Ferrari season has been 'nearly perfect' - Alonso | Drivers' Twitter exchange won't boil over - McLaren »
Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are wary of the threat posed by Lewis Hamilton © Press Association
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Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel don't believe this year's championship has become a two-horse race, saying Lewis Hamilton is still in the frame.

Hamilton's retirement from the lead in Singapore dropped him 52 points behind Alonso, and while he reduced that gap to 42 points in Japan he is now also 38 points behind Vettel. Alonso said that while Hamilton's task has been made harder by Vettel's back-to-back victories, he still thinks the McLaren is quick enough for him to be a threat.

"I don't know how many points he is behind now," Alonso said. "I think it's more difficult, because now it's not only one driver ahead who you need to take some points off now, we are two more or less with the same points ahead and then he is back so for sure the chance for him is a little bit lower. But if we see the form of McLaren and Lewis from before Suzuka, there's still plenty of time an plenty of points to do it so I think they still have the possibility."

Vettel agreed that the McLaren was the car to beat before Suzuka and so is likely to be competitive at all the remaining circuits.

"I think they are still fighting for the championship," Vettel said. "I think that's what has to be their target. If you look at the races we had after the summer break so far if you summed them up on average McLaren is the most competitive car so they are the ones that will be competitive no matter where we go - at least that's what the last couple of races showed - so I think they still have a very good chance."

Hamilton himself agreed that the top two were not just paying his chances lip service and that he should be taken seriously.

"It is true, I don't think it's being polite," Hamilton said. "We've got a competitive car, we still are in the fight. We're not much slower than anyone; we were quicker than them in Singapore and in Monza so we are still one of the dominant forces in the championship."