Nov.2 (GMM) Fernando Alonso's last hope to rescue his flagging championship charge in 2012 is a spate of technical problems for Red Bull.
That is the view of F1 great Niki Lauda, who told Germany's Sport1: "Alonso cannot stop Vettel, unless Vettel suddenly gets technical problems.Red Bull's progress has been too good."
Another weapon deployed by Spaniard Alonso in recent days, however, has been the 'psychological game'.
When he said recently his title fight is actually not with Vettel but with Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, many interpreted that as an attack on his German rival.
But Lauda insisted: "Every car needs a good driver. What good is Newey if the driver can't drive it?"
Indeed, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said criticism is just part of the game, particularly in light of Vettel's meteoric success over the past few years.
"It is uncomfortable the success that Sebastian has had, and uncomfortable for some the success that Red Bull has had. That's not our fault," he insisted.
But Alonso has also been fending off an attack, after the Italian newspaper La Stampa claimed the Spaniard had a heated row with Ferrari's technical boss Pat Fry in India.
"Normally, when you're in the fight for the title, it is the press of other countries that tries to destabilise you," Alonso told Spanish reporters on Thursday.
"This time the destabilisation has come from Italy."
Vettel, however, said he has no intention of entering the fray. "I have no desire for psychological games," he is quoted by Bild newspaper.
"We should concentrate on the driving instead."
And, anyway, he said he respects Alonso.
"Sometimes things are dragged out of context," Vettel insisted, "but the respect is there and that's what counts."