Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso continue to produce study in contrasts
Ferrari driver repeats title confidence as Vettel jests with reporters
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 16/11/12 9:42am
From Fernando Alonso, the customary defiance of a driver who continues to pursue a third World Championship with single-minded resolution. From Sebastian Vettel, the demeanour of a man without a care in the world. For the watching world, a study in opposites.
While Thursday's Press Conference may not have thrown up any headline-grabbing soundbites, what the half-hour interrogation did present was a fascinating contrast in styles from the last two men standing in this year's drivers' title race.
Despite their close proximity at the top of the Drivers' Championship, the Spaniard and the German - recently dubbed 'the genius and the jester' by one British newspaper - couldn't be more different in mood or feel. Vettel, unruffled and happy to banter with the assembled press corps. Alonso, unsmiling, stern, utterly focused on the job in hand. What works for one is apparently anathema to the other - and neither contender is ready to budge an inch as the season hurdles towards it climax.
"I'm very confident," Alonso proclaimed. "I trust my team, I trust myself. We are honest with ourselves, we know that we don't the quickest package and we've qualified sixth or seventh throughout this season. But our strong point is to score more points than the others on Sunday and I'm sure we will do that during the next two races."
Only once did Alonso's stern demeanour falter. For the briefest of moments, a small smile flickered on the Ferrari's driver face as he hijacked a question for Sergio Perez to muse on the prospect of the title race going to the wire. "It's OK if the race goes to the final race," noted the Spaniard having previously described his challenge this weekend, when only Vettel can secure a third title, as akin to surviving a "match point" in tennis. "It's more interesting that way."
Perhaps caught unawares by the change in mood, nobody laughed. Alonso, after all, isn't renowned for his one-liners.
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Vettel, on the other hand, increasingly is. Pressed repeatedly to assess his title chances, the 25-year-old only served up a series of pithy, happy-go-lucky retorts. If the Red Bull driver felt any concern as the defiant Alonso, sitting alongside him, issued his latest galvanising rallying cries, it didn't show.
Instead the reigning World Champion only became moderately vexed when he considered the warning issued by the FIA in the wake of his invective on the Abu Dhabi podium as he celebrated maintaining a ten-point advantage over Ferrari's talisman.
"I think if you are that sensitive you should watch some kids' programmes," the German retorted. "I think it's unnecessary to make such a big fuss. But if I said some thing that weren't appropriate then I apologise."
From Alonso, not so much as a look sidewards in the direction of his championship rival as he continued to sit with arms folded staring into middle distance.
In two races' time, there will only be one winner, but as the season hurtles towards its conclusion, neither driver is ready to give the other's approach a second glance.