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Vettel has a legitimate shot at winning F1 title

Chris Symeon, Motorsports Editor

The Inside Line Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - After winning Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix in dominating fashion, Sebastian Vettel is confident he can beat Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello for this year's Formula One world championship.

Vettel simply was in a class of his own in Japan, leading all 53 laps for his third win of the season. The Red Bull driver gained nine points on current title leader Button with two races remaining in the season -- Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

"It can still be done," Vettel said. "It is looking much better now. It would be nice to have a couple more races left, but two races to go...We are here to fight, and the best thing we can do is win like we did."

Despite a meager eighth-place finish, Button left Japan with a 14-point advantage over Brawn GP teammate Barrichello and a 16-point cushion on Vettel. Barrichello trimmed one point off of Button's lead after finishing one spot ahead of him.

Sebastian Vettel gained nine points on current title leader Jenson Button.
Vettel's chances of taking the title are indeed possible.

In 2007, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton held a 17-point advantage over Kimi Raikkonen from Ferrari heading into the final two rounds of the season. Raikkonen won the Chinese and Brazilian Grand Prix, while Hamilton spun in the gravel for an 18th-place finish in Shanghai and then drove to a disappointing seventh-place run in Sao Paulo. The Ferrari driver won the championship by a single point over his McLaren rival.

"Two years back, Kimi had quite a big gap [to Hamilton] with two races to go," Vettel said. "Everyone said to Lewis, 'It will not be a problem, sitting in one of the most competitive cars, just get a couple of points.' But you can see sometimes, things just don't work your way. Anything is possible. The bottom line is that we're here to fight."

Button began the 2009 season on fire, winning six of the first races. But the Brit has not finished better than fifth since his victory in the June 7 Turkish Grand Prix.

If Button is in panic mode, he's showing no signs of it just yet.

"I don't feel under pressure," Button said. "The closer we get to the end of the season, the more pressure there is on people chasing me."

Simply put, Button will clinch the title in Brazil if he finishes third or better, or Vettel has a result lower than second and Barrichello, who races in front of his home crowd, finishes worse than fourth.

The momentum has shifted in the late season, with Vettel now the one who is on the roll.

While Button has no doubts that history will fail to repeat itself, Vettel is confident he can pull off the same feat Raikkonen did in '07.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Symeon at csymeon@sportsnetwork.com.

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