Who will come out smiling?

With only 4 races left to go in 2012, Amanda Walls is looking at the top four World Title contenders and weighs up their chances.

So, once again we find ourselves drawing close to that sad time of year where we have to find something to entertain ourselves with for a whole three or so months before the 2013 Grand Prix season – but before you turn your head in dismay there are still four great races to go, and everything is still up for grabs.

With everything still to play for, let’s take a look at who could be in contention to take home the trophy, and more importantly the title of “2012 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion”.

Sebastian Vettel

A late season surge has seen the likeable German pop straight back to the top of the Drivers’ Table. With two World Championships already under his belt and armed with the somewhat faultless Adrian-Newey-designed “Abbey” it really appears that he is the man to beat.

Vettel is calm and composed under pressure, and he’s been here before. In addition the Red Bull RB8 has been growing in strength this season and appears to be one of the most consistent performers across the board. Vettel will need this consistency as his slim five-point lead over Alonso leaves the title charge widen open.

Fernando Alonso

In a very Brawn-esque approach, Alonso completed most of this season’s hard work towards the start of the season and in recent races has struggled vehemently to hang on to his title lead – losing it last time out in Korea. For those of us who did get up at that unearthly hour to watch those events unfold, you would also of realised that the Ferrari has struggled recently to match the speed of the Red Bull – and even the McLaren – leaving Alonso with a tough battle on his hands.

Alonso is well-known for getting the best out of any car, and even if the Ferrari isn’t completely up to scratch he has the ability to really make it work for him. One to watch for, especially if it rains.

Kimi Raikkonen

The ice (cream) man has been this season’s quiet achiever and in a very similar fashion to the way he won the 2007 World Championship, Kimi has managed to slide under the radar and score respectable points in the majority of this season’s races. With Kimi’s complete drive to win – and distinct dislike for media engagements – you can count on the Finn to be pushing 100% – after all he doesn’t care about coming second or third.

The main drawback for Kimi is the lack of speed that the Renault has compared to the bigger teams. This could be a challenge, but not one that he couldn’t overcome should unforeseen circumstances (or Romain Grosjean) happen to befall some of other title competitors.

Lewis Hamilton

Although not technically out of the race, Lewis is quite a long way behind, and despite the help that he could gained from his incredibly experienced and quick team-mate Jenson Button, the fact remains that the deficit is quite substantial and the McLaren still lacks some speed compared to the RB8.People might argue that now he has collected his toys and headed over to Mercedes for the next season his heart isn’t in it, but Lewis is a racer and he will fight right through to the end.

Once again a new points system has brought the title contention down to the wire. With four major racers in play, anything could happen. Here’s to an exciting end to the season!