FERNANDO Alonso knows only huge helpings of luck can help him win this year's Formula One world title.
And for the third time in four years it appears Alonso will have to settle for being bridesmaid rather than the bride when it comes to the championship.
Alonso now trails Vettel by 60 points with six races remaining, with the 26-year-old German a 1-200 shot to clinch his fourth successive crown.
After a hat-trick of victories, and seven wins in 13 races over the course of another dominant campaign in his Red Bull, you can even get a ridiculous 28-1 on Vettel winning the remaining grands prix.
Alonso knows there is hope, but it is fading for him and Ferrari as he said: "We have to be realistic.
"With a few races to go, the gap is still increasing every weekend and now it's 60 points.
"We need to be honest with ourselves and know we need a lot of luck, not just in the next race in Korea, but in Japan, in India, in Abu Dhabi...
"We need to be lucky for the last six races if we want to win the championship because we are one second off the pace.
"On the other hand, we are a very uncomfortable opponent. If we get that luck, we will be there."
Alonso highlighted the fact Mark Webber's engine blew in his car on the final lap, an incident that could easily happen to Vettel over the closing stages.
"If this happens to Sebastian one weekend we have to be there, in second place," added Alonso.
"If we cannot win the race we need to be right behind and try to take any opportunity, but being realistic, we know we need to be very, very lucky."
Alonso is at least gracious enough to again accept Vettel and Red Bull are simply doing a far better job than anyone else.
"We are trying our maximum, trying to improve the car for every race - and we are doing it - but obviously not enough compared to our opponents," said Alonso.
"They are doing a better job than us, they are fantastic every weekend. They are winning and they deserve those wins.
"This is a sport, someone always has to win and the best one wins and we are not the best ones at the moment, but we will keep working."
Alonso can only hope the change in next season's engine regulations levels the playing field and stops the rot that has set in with Vettel's dominance.
"We start from zero next year, completely from zero, with the big change in regulations, so it's our best opportunity to close the gap," said Alonso.
"We will put all our effort and hopes into 2014."