Former Red Bull driver and world championship runner-up David Coulthard believes that it will take something extraordinary to stop Sebastian Vettel from winning a fourth consecutive title this season, even if the German driver suffers from a drop in form.
Vettel currently enjoys a 38 point lead during the summer break after a scintillating first half of the season that has seen the three-time world champion claim four wins, and Coulthard can’t see him being stopped in the remaining nine races.
“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 GP Update. “If you look at Button when he won with Brawn, 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.”
Button’s success came in 2009 after Brawn took advantage of the change in regulations to win both championships. Button won six of the opening seven races before finishing on the podium just twice more in the remaining ten rounds. To Coulthard, it would take an even greater swing in momentum for Vettel to falter at this point.
“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.”
In 2009, it was Vettel playing catch-up and the German driver was in the same position last year as he overturned Fernando Alonso’s 40 point lead to win the title at the final round in Brazil. Alonso’s lead amounted to very little given the pace of both Vettel and the Red Bull RB8 as the German driver broke into his stride to win a third consecutive title.