Formula One's reputation for providing gripping television has dwindled in recent years, but even those with little interest in the sport were drawn in by 2007 and 2008's exciting title deciders. Another dramatic one is on the cards at Abu Dhabi on Sunday with four men still in mathematical contention (Alonso, Webber, Vettel and Hamilton) to top the standings and The Contrarian expects plenty more final day twists, which is why he is opposing 2.0 Drivers' Championship favourite Fernando Alonso...
The finale rarely passes without incident...
The destination of the Drivers' Championship has been determined at the final race in three of the last four years and the last two deciders have been anything but a stroll for the men who started the closing weekend in the ascendancy. In 2007, Kimi Raikkonen leapfrogged both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso with victory in Brazil, the McLaren duo finishing seventh and third respectively to somehow miss out on a Drivers' Championship that looked to be heading their way as early as August. The 2008 finale was even more remarkable, with Hamilton again appearing to have botched everything up, only to overtake Timo Glock for fifth place in the last few corners of the final lap in Brazil to cruelly deny Felipe Massa the title by a point.
Red Bull have the faster car
Throughout the campaign, Red Bull have had the quicker car, as their Constructors' Championship proves, and were it not for the fact that Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber (despite the latter being 34) are fairly inexperienced when it comes to leading a title charge, and have at times become too preoccupied with bickering among themselves, you'd expect one of them to have the drivers' crown sewn up already. The gap in class has started to show recently though with one-twos in Japan and Brazil, and they are the two frontrunners in Abu Dhabi. Webber needs to gain nine points on Alonso, and Vettel 16, for either of them to win it, but Alonso is a distant 6.8 to win the race.
Alonso didn't deliver in Abu Dhabi last year...
The two-time world champion had a miserable time in the first ever Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last November, qualifying a dismal 16th out of 20 and producing a similarly disappointing performance in the race, finishing 14th to end his second spell with Renault on a low. In contrast, the three men capable of beating him to top spot on Sunday all impressed, with Hamilton 80.0, Vettel 9.0 and Webber 2.54 being the three fastest qualifiers and the Red Bull duo securing a one-two in the race, in which a brake problem forced Hamilton to retire.
...and has a poor record on the final day
Alonso has won the final race of the campaign just once in his eight-season Formula One career and that was back in 2005 when he already had the Drivers' Championship wrapped up. Since then he has twice been fighting for it on the curtain-closing weekend without taking the chequered flag.
Webber may receive a helping hand
Vettel led his Red Bull team-mate Webber home in Abu Dhabi last year and has already done so in three races this term, including two of the last three, making that the most recurrent top two pairing. On the last two occasions that they have been the top two though, Alonso has joined them on the podium and if that happens again, both members of the Austrian team will miss out on the Drivers' Championship, whereas were Vettel - who can only win if Alonso comes fifth or lower - to let Webber past him on the final lap, the Australian would be crowned champion. Vettel and Webber are far from best friends, however when asked about the possibility, the young German hinted that he would oblige, saying, "In that scenario, it is something you will think of". Alonso can hardly protest if it happens either, having benefitted from a similar situation in Germany.
By The Betfair Contrarian
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