At one stage of this season it looked like we could have had a Championship battle as close as 2010 if not closer, but after Sebastian Vettel's 4th victory in a row, it appears that he has a third title in three years in the bag. A determined second from Alonso limited the damage, but he has to finish ahead of Vettel at almost all the remaining races to take his own third championship, and at this moment in time, that appears very difficult with the pace of the Red Bull.
Despite the hype, India once again delivered an underwhelming race with Vettel taking his second win at the track and at a canter as he was rarely troubled throughout the race, only late troubles with the 'tea-tray' threatened to derail his victory but this was but a minor bump on the road and from looking a distant contender after an alternator failure at Monza but since then he's taken 100 points from 100 available to completely change the face of the Championship, it feels like 2011 all over again.
It shows how quickly F1 can change that until lap 23 in Singapore, it seemed like McLaren would take their 4th win in 4 races and that Hamilton would close the gap to Alonso and increase his chances of a second world title. But a gearbox failure and suspension problems (and astroturf) in Japan and Korea evaporated any chances he has and he looks forward to a fresh start at Mercedes next year. From having the quickest car at that point, it seems that McLaren were unable to stop the Red Bull onslaught that has pretty much wrapped the championship up in one sharp autumn burst, the only thing that can stop it is if Red Bull's reliability problems rear it's head again and I feel that this is Alonso's best chance of overhauling Vettel's ever increasing lead.
But Abu Dhabi is a track where Red Bull have been strong at, Vettel won in 2009 and 2010, and qualified on pole in 2011 but a first lap puncture prevented him from probably making that three wins in a row, however he might not have won in 2009 where Hamilton had to retire from the lead with brake problems. McLaren themselves have been strong here in the past with both Hamilton and Button on the podium for them in 2010 and 2011 (Button has been third every single year at the track as he finished there in 2009 for Brawn). But their championship hopes, both in the WDC and the WCC are over after a poor last 4 races which took them out of contention.
However, if 2012 has shown us anything, it's that nothing is certain. After Germany it seemed that nothing was going to stop Alonso from taking a third world championship and for various reasons, his formidable lead has been wiped out. The updates Ferrari made for recent races has ensured that he can fight for the podium, but he'll need extra if he is to take the title, whether Ferrari can do that or not remains to be seen, but after the mistakes of 2010 where they lost the title, they will not want to see another title slip through their grasp, another failure will not look good on Domenecali, and it is very probable that Luca de Montezemelo would see it as a failure if Alonso doesn't win the championship this year.
Abu Dhabi circuit write up - http://cliptheapex.com/pages/yas-marina-circuit/