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Vettel won the 2010 title with a victory from the pole in the final race at Abu Dhabi, making him the youngest F1 world champion in history. He came back to dominate the circuit in 2011 with 11 victories and won the championship by 122 points.

This season has been much tighter, but a surge of four consecutive victories and a third-place finish two weeks ago put Vettel in position to claim another title.

Alonso has acknowledged Vettel has the faster car but insists he can push the championship to Brazil. Alonso started in a similar position in Abu Dhabi before finishing second.

“It’s still possible,” Alonso said. “Tomorrow I will try to do better and recover some places. We will push to the limit, as have done since the start of every year and every race weekend.”

The Vettel-Alonso battle for the title has dominated the return of Formula One to the U.S. F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone said the season has been good for the sport, which needs some drama if it hopes to finally capture the American market that has shrugged its shoulders in the past.

“You wouldn’t like to put your money on who’s going to win the championship,” Ecclestone said. “You can’t do better than that.”