F1 2012: Vettel Must This Year Share the Red Bull Metal

Muazzin MehrbanCorrespondent IApril 5, 2012

2012 may not prove all smiles for reigning champion Vettel
2012 may not prove all smiles for reigning champion Vettel

To call into question Sebastian Vettel's dominance over the past two seasons would be unfair. Every title runner up could conjure many ifs and buts courtesy of hindsight.

Though, there is no doubting the absence of a rear diffuser, creating additional down force when a driver is off the throttle, is hurting the German’s pursuit of a hat-trick of titles.

What it has done however, is returned racing emphasis to time spent on the pedals, acceleration and braking.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that this has seen not only Vettel pegged back, but also the re-emergence of alleged "has beens," Michael Schumacher and moreover Kimi Raikkonen.

Germany senior’s campaign thus far has not been particularly point-friendly, yet it seems he now has the upper hand over Mercedes team darling Nico Rosberg.

Meanwhile Raikkonen, the ice-man, frozen out of F1 through a mixture of lofty salary demands and basic desire, has returned to the grid in typically moody yet hasty fashion.

McLaren look to have made the early pace yet it is Fernando Alonso of all people, in the allegedly troubled Ferrari, who currently leads the championship.

What this spells for the rest of the season is anyone’s guess. Only so much can be gauged from two races into what will be the sport’s busiest ever calendar.

No fewer than six world champions make up this year’s 12 team grid, sharing between them 14 titles—though seven belong to one man.

A rare smile, Raikkonen believes early Lotus pace is genuine
A rare smile, Raikkonen believes early Lotus pace is genuine


Yet it is no certainty that one of these champions will prevail come the anti-clockwise finale in Sao Paulo, deep into November.

Should the Red Bull regain its ‘wings’ there is just as a good chance it could be Mark Webber that soars highest and beyond the lengthy shadow created by teammate Vettel.

Duckling Sergio Perez has also created somewhat of a stir at F1 veterans Sauber, with a classy podium aid the Sepang downpour.

In summation, the paddock is busy again. Glamour has been an ever present on the starting grid, though it seems to have returned to the drivers. Big shades, bigger grins (save Kimi) and the biggest pool of collective egos. 

Words are being exchanged as frequently as tyres, teams are struggling to ascertain their premier driver and it seems pole sitters, race winners and fastest lap holders are not destined to be one and the same.

If only Sky could go one further and strike a deal with Fleetwood Mac.