F1 title contenders agree anything can happen

Yeongam, South Korea:
Formula One`s five title contenders lined up together at South Korea`s new circuit on Thursday and agreed that the championship was still wide open.

Australian Mark Webber leads Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso and his own Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel by 14 points with three races remaining, including Sunday`s inaugural Grand Prix at the new Yeongam circuit.

McLaren`s Lewis Hamilton is a further 14 points back, with team mate and reigning champion Jenson Button fifth and three more adrift.

"No one in this room knows what`s going to happen in the next three races, nobody," Webber told a news conference with the other four after they had all posed for a group photograph on the pit wall.

That image harked back to a similar one, now a classic in Formula One lore, of the four championship contenders from 1986 -- Brazilians Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna, Frenchman Alain Prost and Britain`s Nigel Mansell.

"We can talk here for hours about what we`re going to do, what`s going to happen, this and that, upside down, inside out. No one knows, so we`re going to go out there, do our stuff," Webber added.

"Clearly Seb and I have had a good season. We`re both in with a chance of doing quite well in the championship and also the team is doing well in the constructors`, because both of us obviously are getting quite a few points."

Red Bull are 45 points clear of McLaren in the team standings.


Sunday`s race could be Button`s last chance but the Briton refused to give up hope.

"Every time we go to a race it seems this is the critical race," he declared. "It is obviously a lot more difficult for us to win the world championship this year but we have seen in past seasons that anything is possible."

The example of Kimi Raikkonen, who won the 2007 title for Ferrari after coming from 17 points down with two races remaining, is a reminder of that.

Vettel, for one, was not counting on lightning striking twice.

"Of course he showed it`s possible but he also did his maximum and he won those races but it also required the others not to finish in the points or not to finish high up," he said.

"So I don`t think you can really compare. I think it will be different this year.

"I think all of us could be very strong potentially here, so we need to see how it goes," Vettel added.

Hamilton, who lost that lead to Raikkonen and now finds himself hoping to perform a similarly remarkable comeback, felt anything was possible.

"I don`t think the gap is that big, so it`s not impossible," he said. "We`ve outqualified them (Red Bull)... what was it, one race maybe? So they`ve had more than a few pole positions but no, I think we can close the gap, hopefully."

Bureau Report

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