Vettel eyeing victory after clinching Indian GP pole
Sebastian Vettel tightened his grip on the Formula One championship with another dominant display in qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix.
Vettel remained cool-headed despite a late slip which threatened to cost him his fifth pole position of the year. He sailed into the top ten shoot-out but a momentary mistake in the high-speed left-right flick of turns six and seven meant he had to abandon his first attempt at a lap.
He returned to the track moments later to deny team mate Mark Webber pole position by a mere four hundredths of a second.
This was the third consecutive front row lock-out for Red Bull. Behind them the McLarens and Ferraris occupy the next two rows of the grid, but it’s hard to see them offering serious resistance to Red Bull on race day.
Red Bull odds shorten drastically
The first two-thirds of this season saw a close contest between the top teams with no driver able to score back-to-back race wins. Red Bull have seized the initiative with four races to go and that is reflected in the latest odds from Unibet.
Vettel’s odds on championship success have been cut to 1.17 while Alonso’s have risen to 4.5 – despite the Ferrari driver being only six points behind in the points standings.
The odds of Vettel winning Sunday’s race are a slim 1.4. Should he trip up, Webber might be worth a punt on 8.0 to win. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said he would not order Webber to give up a victory for Vettel and Webber has insisted he would not obey such an order if it was given.
Most telling of all, Red Bull’s odds of winning the constructors’ championship have fallen to 1.01, a clear reflection of their pre-eminent position in the title race.
Alonso alluded to this after qualifying, telling reporters he was not merely competing with Vettel, but also “fighting against Newey”. He was of course referring to the RB8’s designer and Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey, whose mastery of racing car aerodynamics have given Vettel and Webber a crucial advantage. And, as has usually been the case, it’s Vettel who’s making the most of it.
Other betting options for India
The returns on backing a Vettel win are very poor indeed, so what other betting options are available for the Indian Grand Prix?
Kimi Raikkonen has odds of 7.0 to finish on the podium. His last top-three finish was five races ago and he’s finished in the top six for the last nine races in a row. He may need a little help from cars in front hitting trouble, but the Lotus is usually a stronger car in the race than in qualifying.
Massa starts in front of him but is on even longer odds to reach the podium – 12.0. But remember that, as we saw in Korea, he is unlikely to be allowed to finish in front of Alonso, so steer clear of this one.
Raikkonen’s team mate Romain Grosjean will line up 11th and is on odds of 30.0 to finish in the top three. What makes this bet worth considering is that by qualifying outside the top ten Grosjean will be able to start the race on a fresh set of tyres. This is one of F1’s more dubious and arbitrary rules, but it could work out well for Grosjean, as it did for Raikkonen earlier this season.
Then there is the question of fastest lap. Red Bull’s performance edge has been great enough that its drivers have claimed these in recent races. Odds of 2.5 for Vettel to claim another one here is the best betting you’re going to find on the world champion.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic