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Lauda tips Alonso to take title

Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso won back-to-back world championship title in 2005 and 2006.

Story highlights

  • Triple world champion Niki Lauda tips Fernando Alonso for 2012 title
  • Alonso leads the championship by 29 points with six races of the season to go
  • Lauda says it is too soon for Sauber's Sergio Perez to join Ferrari
  • The Austrian praises former Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen on his comeback season

Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda has tipped Fernando Alonso to clinch a 16th drivers' title for Ferrari his season.

Alonso, a double world champion with McLaren in 2005 and 2006, currently leads the 2012 drivers' standing by 29 point with just six races of the season to go.

Lauda, a winner of 25 grands prix between 1974 and 1985, says Alonso's approach this season has been close to perfect, grinding out results in a car which was considered substandard at the start of the season.

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"He is making all the right moves," Lauda, who won the drivers' title twice with Ferrari, told the sport's official website.

"He is fast and he is getting the car over the finish line. He is aggressive when needed. He is Mr Right, right now.

    "I say that he will carry on racing the way he has done so far and then the list of those who count themselves still in the running is dramatically reduced.

    "He will score the most points. He will be champion if he carries on like he has done up until now."

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    When asked what Ferrari, the most successful team in F1 history, would be without the 31-year-old Alonso, Lauda responded: "Not as good. It is always the combination of driver and team that makes success."

    Rumors have suggested Ferrari may look to replace Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa for the 2013 season, with Sauber's Sergio Perez mooted as a potential successor to the Brazilian.

    But Austrian Lauda reckons it is too early in the Mexican's career for him to be a suitable fit at Ferrari.

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    "I don't see it," added Lauda. "Perez would be a risk. Massa is predictable and Alonso likes him, so I say that such a switch is not going to happen."

    Lauda also singled out former Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen for praise.

    The Lotus driver sits third in the championship despite only returning to the sport this season after two years away.

    Raikkonen was the last Ferrari driver to win the championship when he fended off competition from Alonso -- then racing for McLaren -- and Briton Lewis Hamilton, who is still driving for the British team, to clinch the 2007 crown.

    "The fascinating thing with Kimi is that he came back and didn't need any warm-up time. It's as if he had never been away," said Lauda.

    "Kimi came back as if he hadn't been away for two years. He was fighting immediately at the top. You cannot ask for more."