Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Betting: Grosjean & Rosberg can outshine Vettel


Having clinched his fourth world championship title last weekend, Sebastian Vettel's domination of Formula One has reached the kind of levels only seen by a very select group of drivers.

His Indian Grand Prix victory was his sixth in a row. Only two drivers before him have won that many races: Alberto Ascari in the 1950s and Michael Schumacher nine years ago.

Can he make it seven in a row in Abu Dhabi this weekend? His price for winning this weekend has been cut to a rather unappealing 1.40.

Vettel won the first two Grands Prixs to be held at the Yas Marina track in 2009 and 2010 - the latter being the scene of his shock title win in a contest which seemed to be between Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.

But since then his luck has deserted him at the track in spectacular fashion. Having routed the opposition in 2011 he planted the car on pole position and looked set to romp to another victory - only for a tyre to fail just a few hundred metres into the race.

Last year he was locked in a tense battle for title honours with Alonso and qualified off the front row. Then disaster struck as he ran out of fuel before he could return to the pits and was sent to the back of the grid - the prelude to an impressive recovery drive to third place.

It all serves as a reminder that Vettel's success can't last forever. Perhaps it will be third time unlucky in Abu Dhabi.

 

 

Grosjean on the rise

Which of Vettel's rivals is best-placed to take advantage of any problems he may encounter? Alonso had three second places in a row not long ago but Ferrari are under pressure at the moment. They've slipped to third in the constructors championship behind Mercedes and could be demoted again by Lotus.

The black-and-gold team are definitely worth watching closely here. Kimi Raikkonen won this race last year but his team mate Romain Grosjean has the initiative at the moment.

With Raikkonen heading to Ferrari next year Grosjean has done a fine job of demonstrating his ability to lead the team in the world champion's absence. But there's more to it than that. The pecking order in F1 has been reshaped by changes to the tyres. On top of that Grosjean is increasingly satisfied with the Lotus's handling.

"The most recent updates such as the long wheelbase are working well, and the mid-season change to the tyre specifications by Pirelli also seems to have benefitted him," team principal Eric Boullier acknowledged. Grosjean's odds of 15.00 to win make him joint third favourite and a worthwhile choice. He's scored podiums in the last three races - the last coming from an improbably 17th on the grid.

 

 

"Underestimated" Rosberg

Another driver worth considering, who was also on the podium last weekend, is the one the newly-crowned champion says is "underestimated". Nico Rosberg has had a strong year for Mercedes and measured up very well against Lewis Hamilton.

For a long time it seemed the expectation that Hamilton would gradually gain the upper hand at Mercedes was being borne out this year. But in India Rosberg out-qualified and out-raced his team mate, taking second while Hamilton slipped to sixth.

Early in his career Rosberg showed up very well against Webber, who is now Vettel's team mate at Red Bull. That's why Vettel knows to keep an eye on both Mercedes drivers. Rosberg's odds on victory this weekend are a surprisingly high 30.00, which suggested Vettel has a point about Rosberg being underrated.

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic.