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Alguersuari: Brazilian GP showdown like poker game

Former F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari has likened this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix showdown to a poker game - and points out that it is not always the best hand that wins...
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.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
24.05.2012- Fan Zone, Jaime Alguersuari (SPA), Pirelli Test driver
28.10.2012- Race, Press conference, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8
18.11.2012 - Podium, winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27, 2nd Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8, 3rd Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
26.10.2012- Free Practice 1, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
Sebastian Vettel
Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel with Ferrari SF15-T
Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel with Ferrari SF15-T
Ferrari team with new SF15-T
Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Gutierrez with Ferrari SF15-T
Fernando Alonso - McLaren Honda
Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button - McLaren Honda
Fernando Alonso - McLaren Honda
Sebastian Vettel with Ferrari employees at Maranello. Pic credit: Ferrari
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Ron Dennis at McLaren
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button alongside Kevin Magnussen. Pic credit: McLaren

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November 22, 2012 1:30 PM

What Bernie wants is for Fernando to win in Brazil and for Sebastian to snatch fourth place, on the very last corner, of the very last lap. With the points then tied Sebastian then wins the championship on count-back. But surely, for that to happen again, someone (not Timo Glock this time) would need to be running in fourth place , on slicks, in the rain? Deja vu anyone.

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