Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg admit they can't beat Red Bull in India
Mercedes drivers resigned to their fate after Vettel dominates Friday
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 25/10/13 2:04pm
With the remorseless Vettel heading the timesheets in both the morning and afternoon sessions at the Buddh International Circuit, the two Mercedes drivers seem resigned to fighting it out with Mark Webber and the Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen over the minor podium places.
Hamilton, whose day began in ignominious fashion when he brushed the wall as he left the pits for the first time, predicted at the start of the weekend that Vettel will win all of the remaining four races on the calendar and nothing that occurred on Friday persuaded the 2008 World Champion to change mind as he all-but waved the white flag after finishing seven-tenths behind his Red Bull rival.
The brevity of Hamilton's forlorn responses was telling.
Is pole out of the question? "Yes".
Are you fighting for second and third spot on the podium? "Yup".
Is it achievable? "Hopefully".
Team-mate Nico Rosberg was slightly more detailed in his answers but equally pessimistic about Mercedes' chances of ending Vettel's uninterrupted run of victories since the summer break.
"We're fighting for third place on the podium because the Red Bulls are just too quick again," said the German. "Pole is also out of question because they are too fast - especially Vettel. It's a bit of a pity, but that's just the way it is."
Vettel is guaranteed to clinch a fourth successive title if he finishes Sunday's race in fifth place or higher.
Hamilton, meanwhile, has slipped to a distant third in the standings after failing to finish higher than fifth since the Belgian GP in August.