F1 world title: Contenders for the runners-up

Sep 24, 2011, 07:39 IST | Kunal Shah

Red Bull's Vettel looks certain to bag the World Championship again, but there's a close contest for second place. Here are the contenders...

Red Bull's Vettel looks certain to bag the World Championship again, but there's a close contest for second place. Here are the contenders...

Sebastian Vettel's victory at the 2011 Italian Grand Prix was Red Bull Racing's first ever at Monza. His win helped him cement his position at the top of the Driver's Championship table with a 112 points lead ahead of his nearest competitor.

Quite contrastingly, in the same race, his teammate Mark Webber had his first retirement of the 2011 season which also saw him lose 2nd place in the table to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. As a result, Vettel can win his second World Championship this weekend in Singapore and contrastingly again, Webber will be fighting to win back his second place. While the focus is on Vettel, here's a quick look at the contenders for second place in the drivers' table.

Fernando Alonso
The Ferrari driver is second and 112 points off Vettel. But, he leads Button and Webber by five points. Alonso's position does come  as a surprise to many since he has scored only one win this season (British GP). But the Spaniard's strong record of podium finishes (six) have helped him do well.

Jenson Button
The 2009 World Champion has two victories this year (Canada & Hungary) followed by five podium finishes to score 167 points and be tied with Webber for third. His back-to-back retirements at the British and German GPs saw him lose potential points; else he would have bean ahead of Alonso.

Mark Webber
The biggest disappointment of the season after the Aussie driver failed to win a single race this year. While he has had seven podium finishes and suffered only one retirement (Italian GP), he hasn't been as successful as teammate Vettel on Race Day. Given he was in contention for the driver's title last year, his performance this year seems poor. Rather than claiming second place, the bigger question is, 'Will Webber score a win this year?'

Lewis Hamilton
Mclaren's prodigious driver is nine points down on teammate Button and 14 points down on Alonso's second place. While Hamilton has scored two victories (China & Germany) and two podium finishes, he has also suffered from two retirements this season.

So, who do I think will finish second in this Driver's Championship?
Alonso and Button are my favourites for second place. Alonso might have an edge over Button as he has won two out of the three GPs in Singapore and also won the inaugural race last year in Korea. Button is yet to win in Japan, while both Alonso and Button haven't scored victories in Abu Dhabi or Brazil.

Vettel quickest
Singapore: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel emerged fastest clocking 1 min 46.374 secs at free practice for the Singapore GP yesterday.

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