Thanks to the novel situation of having 4 drivers in the title hunt on Sunday (assuming none of them do a Mansell Japan ’87 and stick it in the wall during practice), there could be some very interesting tactics going on.
For Lewis the situation is clear. He needs to win and the other contenders to retire.
For Vettel it’s still pretty clear. He needs a win and Alonso to be 5th or lower.
For the leading two, it’s a bit more complicated. The most obvious combinations are:
Alonso 1st or 2nd and he’s champion regardless of the others.
3. Alonso – champion
1. Webber – champion
I think Webber is under the most pressure, potentially requiring help from his team mate or Alonso to have a poor race. He’s looking like he’s defeated before he’s started, although as we know anything can happen during a 2hr race.
The most interesting possibility though is that of some gamesmanship.
If it were on a computer game, I’d put money on Massa taking out the Red Bulls and Button taking out Alonso, but in real life everyone is far to grown up and professional for those kind of dirty tricks.
What is more possible is if Alonso is facing the prospect of Vettel leading Webber. For all the talk of animosity between Vettel and Webber, I really think he would move over on the final corner to help Webber (and his own image as a sportman) and Alonso must know this.
If Alonso’s not fast enough to compete with the Red Bulls on the track he has the option of trying to make them compete with each other instead. By dropping back to 5th or lower deliberately he would put Vettel back in the game and reignite the fire between the two Red Bull drivers that’s been damped down since Turkey.
We all know what happened in Turkey…