The two dominant forces in this year's F1 world championships have both earned nominations for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards, with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing included in the sportsman and team of the year awards respectively,
The nominees were revealed by Laureus World Sports Academy members Sebastian Coe, Sean Fitzpatrick, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Daley Thompson at Central Hall in Westminster, where the awards ceremony will be held on 6 February 2012, but both Vettel and RBR will find the opposition a lot tougher than they did on track this season.
The German finds himself in exalted company, being put up against Barcelona football star Lionel Messi, who will be hoping to become the first team sports player to be named winner of the individual award, as well as Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, tennis number one Novak Djokovic, Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and fellow countryman Dirk Nowitzki. The latter became the first European to be voted Most Valuable Player in the NBA Finals after his success with the Dallas Mavericks, while Bolt won two gold medals at the world championships and Djokovic claimed three grand slam titles on his way to the top of the tennis tree.
Messi's Barcelona team are also nominated as Laureus World Team of the Year for the fourth time, giving RBR opposition stiffer than both McLaren and Ferrari combined. The Milton Keynes operation also faces up to the threat of the New Zealand All Blacks' Rugby World Cup-winning side, NBA winners Dallas Mavericks, world cricket number ones England and the Japanese women's football squad which upset the odds to win the World Cup.
"This has been a great year for sport and the Academy are going to find it extremely difficult to decide who to vote for as winners," Laureus World Sports Academy chairman Edwin Moses admitted, "We have had several massive performances in 2011 both by individuals and teams and that has been reflected in the nominations. I congratulate all the nominees and now we look forward to what should be a great Awards Ceremony in February in London."
The full list of nominees for the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards can be found at http://www.laureus.com/awards/2012/nominees