Triple world champion Niki Lauda says Sebastian Vettel is 'clearly' on-track to surpass his three world titles by claiming a fourth consecutive championship this season.
After winning his home race in Germany, Vettel pulled his lead out to 34 points in the drivers standings as recent resurgence of Mercedes, at least in the races, ended.
Speaking to the Osterreich newspaper, Lauda admitted he felt Vettel and Red Bull would once again run away with the championship this season.
"Vettel and Red Bull are the best package in Formula 1," he said.
"Sebastian isn't the winner yet, but he is clearly on course."
One of his nearest challengers, Lewis Hamilton, who was despondent after the poor showing in Germany wrote off his chances this season following that difficult race.
"We didn't manage to get the tyres in the correct temperature window, because of the high track temperatures we saw in the race," said Lauda.
"It was the usual problems that almost every team has had this year."
Lauda believes however that Mercedes can be pleased with its step forward in 2013 claiming the German team is 'now the second force behind Red Bull'.
Vettel's other challengers, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen may not agree with Lauda's comments however.
Both cars benefitted from the new tyre rules that came into effect at the German Grand Prix which means they should be able to maintain the fight against Vettel until the end of the season.
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