There may 13 points separating Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso heading into this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix finale, but the title race isn't necessarily over.
That is the view of BBC Radio 5 Live
analyst, and former Toro Rosso driver, Jaime Alguersuari, who is quick to point out that his fellow Spaniard was leading the 2010 championship by 15 points with one race to, and contrived to lose out to Vettel in a dramatic Abu Dhabi showdown.
“The situation is an almost exact reverse of the 2010 title climax, when Vettel went into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi 15 points behind Alonso but ended up as champion,” Alguersuari confirmed, “In this sort of situation, small mistakes can happen. In the pit-stops, in strategy, in tyre selection, you can lose the championship.”
A misguided pit strategy cost Alonso the 2010 title, and Chris Dyer his job as head of track engineering, as the Scuderia brought the Spaniard in to cover Red Bull's decision to pit Mark Webber ahead of schedule, but Alguersuari insists that the Milton Keynes team may not be immune to the pressure of a similar situation this weekend, especially if the infamous Interlagos weather plays a part.
“The situation this weekend is a little bit like a Champions League final with the teams drawing 1-1 with a minute to go - anything can happen,” he wrote in his regular BBC
column, “On paper, Vettel is in a very strong position, in a faster car, 13 points ahead of Alonso and with only 25 points available for the winner. One driver has everything to lose and the other has everything to gain.
“The only valid attitude Alonso can have is to take risks and be aggressive from the first moment to the last. The only valid attitude Vettel can have is to be conservative, because all he can do is lose it. It's like a poker match - both players have different cards and they have to play them the best they can. And the person with the best hand will not necessarily win.
“It is a high-pressure situation for both drivers and their teams. Both of them are usually good under pressure, but it can do funny things to people.”
Alguersuari intimated that his compatriot may be best-equipped to deal with the situation, having had to combat a less-than-competitive car throughout the 2012 season.
“There are 20 grands prix this season, and they all count,” he underlined, “If Alonso has got to this position with a less competitive car than Vettel it is because he has dealt with all these situations in the best possible way he could. He risked when he had to risk. He was conservative when he needed to be.
“They are two great drivers, both great champions. But any mistake by either will count big time now.”