Niki Lauda has said Sebastian Vettel is having to 'fight like a donkey' this season to stay in touch.
Vettel is looking to secure his third F1 drivers' title in succession this year and while he is still very much in contention, and currently lies third in the standings with 122 points - 2 less than his Red Bull team-mate, Mark Webber and 42 less than Fernando Alonso, who leads - he finds himself in a very different situation to 2011.
Indeed this season he has taken only one win, and one second place, whereas twelve months ago he went into the summer break with six wins on the board and four runners-up spots.
“It is logical [Vettel is not as dominant in 2012],” Lauda told Austrian newspaper, Osterreich
. “Last year he had a huge advantage with the car. Now in every race he must fight like a donkey to stay in touch. The stress level is higher. In difficult situations Alonso is superior to all.
“[But] the top teams are close together, which the Hungarian Grand Prix showed again. I expect the tension to continue [after the summer break] and hope that Red Bull and McLaren can exploit their [full] potential.”
Meanwhile, the three-time F1 world champion added that he is not particularly taken by proposals for a London Grand Prix, despite the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“Not much,” he replied when asked his opinion on the matter. “Let us remember London for the Olympic Games.
“I watched from the opening to the closing ceremony and loved it. It could not have gone any better.”