David Coulthard has said he will be 'surprised' if Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel doesn't win his fourth drivers' title this season, even though Mercedes are now getting stronger and stronger.
The former F1 race winner reckons the 38-point lead Vettel's has in the 2013 F1 Drivers' Championship will probably be enough to ensure the German comes out top, even though nine races remain and a potential 225 points are still up for grabs.
“Historically, if you're able to build a bit of a buffer in the first half of the season, even if somebody then comes forward in performance, normally you can hang in there and get the championship,” Coulthard told GPUpate.net
“If you look at [Jenson] Button when he won with Brawn [in 2009], he won a lot of races in the first half of the season. He didn't actually do anything in the second half of the season but he was able to hang in there and get the championship.
“Mercedes are looking strong [now], there's no question about it, and they have a quick car in qualifying, probably with certain advantages over the Red Bull. But Red Bull have a very consistent package.
“Sebastian is unquestionably a remarkable driver when you look at the amount of starts, the amount of success, the qualifying and racing and what have you. Obviously I don't know this, but I would be surprised if he doesn't win his fourth championship. But of course with nine races to go, there are a lot of points.”
So how big a threat are the Mercedes drivers? “Both Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis [Hamilton] have won this year, so there's no question that they can win again. They are getting stronger. If they're finishing 1-2 at every race in the last nine races and Sebastian is finishing third – I'm not bright enough to work out the maths – I suspect he could still win the championship. But it's unlikely that this will be the podium for the next nine races. We'll see, it's exciting isn't it?” DC added.
Meanwhile, Coulthard stated that he doesn't think Fernando Alonso will end up at Red Bull in 2014, despite F1 silly season speculation
it is a possibility.
“I think the Fernando story is unlikely but I do think it's normal that all of these guys and their managers talk to all the teams. He wouldn't be a manager if he's not talking to the team that's winning races. The name Ferrari is a wonderful name but winning grands prix and World Championships is more wonderful,” concluded the BBC Sport
F1 co-commentator and pundit.