After 18 races, it all comes down to a duel in the desert. At the end of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Red Bull Renault’s Mark Webber will walk away with the driver’s championship. Unless it goes to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, or Red Bull Renault’s Sebastian Vettel, or McLaren Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton is, at best, a long shot; he’d need to win the race and have Alonso, Webber and Vettel finish worse than 11th, which isn’t likely to happen.
What is likely is a dual between the two Red Bull Renault teammates, who’ve tangled in the past (Turkish Grand Prix, anyone?) with disastrous results. Of the three drivers in the hunt for the championship, I’d give Alonso the advantage: he’s won the title before (in 2005 and 2006), and is the driver least likely to make a mistake. Despite Webber’s consistency and maturity, he’s still the red-headed stepchild at Red Bull Renault, where fast-but-careless Sebastian Vettel can do no wrong.
I predict a dogfight this Sunday, with Alonso reaping the benefits of Vettel’s mistakes. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be one hell of a good race, on a fast track that gives reasonable opportunity for passing. Someone’s going home a winner, and someone else is going home as the first loser.