Alonso expects Vettel title win
Fernando Alonso accepts he will likely wind up second in this season's Formula One world title race.
In light of Sebastian Vettel's return to dominance - racking up 133 points from a possible 150 in his last six grands prix with Red Bull - Alonso has performed wonders in limiting the damage.
Without a victory and a pole position since the race in Germany in the middle of July for Ferrari, Alonso goes into Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix just 13 points adrift of Vettel.
There are a number of scenarios open, but first and foremost Alonso has to finish in the top three, and then it is a case of seeing how Vettel fares in their bid to become a three-time world champion.
At least in Alonso's case there is less pressure on his shoulders compared to Vettel, despite the German's run of form.
"In Formula One there's always pressure, but definitely we have less than on some other occasions, and maybe less than if we were leading the championship," said Alonso.
"We have nothing really to lose. We are in second position, arriving after two qualifying sessions dominated by Red Bull - well, not two, five or six.
"We have been around positions seven or eight (in qualifying) in the last couple of grands prix, so it looks very difficult.
"If everything goes normally, we should finish second. If something happens, maybe we will win the championship, but it's not in our hands."
What unfolds around the grand, old, undulating Interlagos circuit could be in the lap of the gods as rain is forecast, and with a dip in temperature of 14 degrees compared to Saturday.
There is that unknown factor which could yet throw a spanner in the works for Vettel, who is aiming to become only the third driver in F1 history to win three successive titles.
Asked if he was feeling any extra pressure, Vettel said: "Yeah. I think it's obviously normal if you're in that position.
"All year we've been trying to push very hard, to put ourselves in a very strong position to fight for the championship until the last race and be in the best possible place.
"Now we are here in the last race and we are in a strong position, so we can be happy with that.
"Nevertheless, there's one more race to go, and as I said, we have to make sure we focus on every single step to get the job done here."
And if the rain does fall, Vettel added: "Weather-wise, it's Sao Paulo.
"It's the same as if you go to Spa where you know things can happen quickly and the weather can change a lot.
"I spoke to some locals and there was heavy rain two days ago which wasn't expected.
"On Sunday, there's some rain on the way, but then again you don't know how much and when.
"I asked Pirelli yesterday if they have all the containers here with the rain tyres, and that's the case, so I don't think we have to be concerned."
Ten times on 26 occasions when the title race has gone down to the wire, the driver behind in the championship has gone on to lift the title.
The last of those was 2010 when Vettel trailed Alonso by 15 points ahead of the final race in Abu Dhabi yet managed to become champion for the first time.
The 31-year-old Spaniard, however, refused to draw on that for inspiration, preferring to focus on the here and now, especially as times have changed from two years ago.
As the underdog, Alonso said: "These are different circumstances from Abu Dhabi because now we have DRS and KERS. It was a little bit more difficult to pass then.
"Now, even if you find yourself at the back of the grid, you're still able to recover positions, as we saw in Abu Dhabi where Seb started last, but still finished on the podium.
"But anything can happen until the chequered flag, so we will try to do the best race we can.
"If we win we will be very happy, but we know we need some strange combination of results.
"If we don't win, we will congratulate him and we will try next year. Nothing really surprising."