David Croft believes Fernando Alonso can still pip Sebastian Vettel to the world title
Sky Sports F1 commentator thinks battle set up for Brazil finale
Last Updated: 15/11/12 6:38pm
This weekend's inaugural race in Austin presents Vettel with his first chance to clinch his third consecutive championship with the German needing to outscore his Ferrari rival by 15 points to avoid a final-race showdown next week in Brazil.
Although Alonso trimmed Vettel's lead to just ten points at the last race in Abu Dhabi after the latter driver started from the pitlane, the deficit is still considered relatively large given the Red Bull has been consistently the faster of the two cars in recent months.
Speaking in a phone-in with journalists ahead of Sky Sports F1's exclusive live coverage of the potentially title-deciding U.S. GP on Thursday, Crofty, while suspecting Alonso's best chance to move back ahead may have now gone, still backed the Spaniard to take the crown at Interlagos.
"I've said all year long that Fernando Alonso is going to win this title. I'm a bit of a stubborn old mule and it pains me to go against that, but I just wonder - was Abu Dhabi his best chance of retaking the championship lead and getting his season back on track?" Crofty asked.
"The momentum had swung Red Bull's way, but Sebastian Vettel starts from the pitlane which you think sets up Alonso getting back in the lead and we're back on again. But actually that was a cracking drive from Vettel, once he got the clumsiness of trying to get past Bruno Senna out of the way and hitting the marker board, who now to me looks pretty much nailed on for this championship.
"But in my seven years of Formula 1, the one thing I've learnt is you never, never count your chickens. Who would have thought in 2007 that Kimi Raikkonen would have emerged as the World Champion at the end of that year?
"There's only ten points between them and I'm not going to change my mind, I'm still going to say Alonso. Even if I'm wrong at least I've got loyalty to fall back on!"
And on the prospect of yet another Brazilian title decider, he added: "If it does go down to the wire it's brilliant and Interlagos is a great place for a title decider. It is one of the great tracks that are out there and it is one of the best sporting atmospheres in the world."