Vettel steers away from declaring title race over

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The Independent Online

The Formula One leader Sebastian Vettel can win his second straight world title at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver leads the Formula One standings by 112 points, and needs to earn only 13 more points than Fernando Alonso to secure the title with five races to spare. If Vettel wins at Marina Bay, Alonso would need to finish on the podium to keep his hopes alive.

Vettel was understandably coy about the likelihood of winning the title under the lights in Singapore, not wanting to jinx himself by saying out loud what everyone else had already assumed – the 2011 title is his.

"Looking to the championship, there is still some way to go," Vettel said. "We are in a very strong position, which we deserve because we've been working hard and made few mistakes. As long as we come out of the next race with a bigger lead than we started with, then we have done a good job, so let's see."

The seeming inevitability of a title for Vettel means the closing stages of the 2011 season will be something of an anticlimax compared to the unusually frequent number of nail-biting finishes in recent years. Four of the past five drivers' championships have been decided in the season's last race – the exception being Jenson Button's 2009 title with Brawn.

But the Singapore event commands interest in its own right despite the lack of championship suspense, being the only night race in the Formula One calendar.