Vettel keeps plans under wraps

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The Independent Online

Sebastian Vettel continued to tease today as the debate again raged over whether he will aid Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber in Sunday's title-decider in Abu Dhabi.

For the final pre-race press conference of the season on a Thursday involving the drivers, the FIA threw together the four championship protagonists - Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, the latter trio eight, 15 and 25 points adrift of the Spaniard respectively.

Hamilton was naturally bullish; Vettel was again giving little away as to his plans; Webber spoke effusively of his season, and Alonso dismissed the theory he would be a tainted champion.

It underlines the fact with one race remaining, in which for the first time in Formula One history there are four drivers still in the hunt for the title, they each have a story to tell.

The one surrounding Vettel and Webber remains the most intriguing, and after offering a subtle suggestion in Brazil on Sunday he may work for Webber, the young German today dropped a further hint.

Team principal Christian Horner has already stated there will be no team orders, so any decision rests solely with Vettel.

Technical chief Adrian Newey has urged Vettel to be "magnanimous," whilst owner Dietrich Mateschitz has simply told his drivers to race and "whatever will be will be."

Everybody has an opinion, such as Felipe Massa and Hamilton who were polarised with their remarks as to whether Vettel will help or not - the former adamant he will, the latter insistent he will not.

It all comes down to Vettel who may have it within his power to ease to one side and make Webber champion, so denying Alonso.

"There are lots of things, more important things happening before we enter this possible stage, whatever the scenario," said Vettel.

"First of all we have to focus on getting the car ready tomorrow, prepare it, have a solid qualifying.

"Last year was a very tricky session here I remember, so there are lots of things to do, things that we should spend our energy on, more important things.

"As to what happens on Sunday, if the situation occurs then I think we know we're driving for the team.

"We (he and Webber) have had some occasions this year where we have got close and it didn't look too good.

"So I think the main target is not to repeat that, and the rest we will see."

In searching for an insight, a man who knows Vettel well, Michael Schumacher was asked for his opinion as to whether the 23-year-old would be honourable and would play fair.

"It depends what you see as fair or unfair," responded the seven-time world champion.

"Is it unfair to win a race in which you are clearly quicker? I'm not sure you can call it unfair.

"The main point is we will all be very excited to see what's going to happen, even from my perspective, because I don't know what's going through his Vettel's mind."

Hamilton was unequivocal in stating what he would do if he were in Vettel's position, and also what he feels will actually happen.

"If I was in the position where I could win (the title) but Jenson (Button) was in the lead, I'm pretty sure he would move out of the way for me, and I also feel I would do the same for him," said Hamilton.

"Looking at their situation, if Sebastian is in the lead and Mark second, but Sebastian cannot win the title, in that case you would rather your team-mate win than the other guy.

"But I have no doubt Vettel does not want Webber to win. That is clear, so I am pretty sure it is not going to happen."

As for Massa, he offered a different opinion as he said: "I expect both to fight to the end.

"But I'm pretty sure they're going to change position. If you don't then you are giving it (the title) away to another team."

It would appear the only point that is clear is no-one knows for certain what will happen, certainly not Webber, and maybe not even Vettel until the moment comes for him to act.