Indian Grand Prix Betting: Are you brave enough to bet against Vettel?

The Japanese Grand Prix demonstrated just how fearsome a challenge it is to beat Sebastian Vettel at the moment.

A technical glitch in qualifying followed by a poor start meant he fell to third place behind his team-mate and the rapid Romain Grosjean. But Vettel bided his time and in an attacking final stint passed Grosjean for his fifth consecutive victory.

This weekend sees the third instalment of the Indian Grand Prix and Vettel's form in the previous two races at the Buddh International Circuit is formidable, to the say the least. Not only has he won both the preceding races at this track but no other driver has managed to lead a racing lap during either.

Small wonder then, his prices for taking pole position and winning the race are 1.45 and 1.48, respectively. Every other drivers' odds are at least twice as long. And it'd take a brave gambler to back them.


Red Bull's reliability woes

The Japanese race reminded us that misfortunes can befall even the most dominant of drivers and teams. Reliability is a persistent Achilles' heel for Red Bull - the KERS problem which arguably cost Vettel pole position is not the first such failure the team have had this year.

That allowed his team mate Mark Webber to claim his first pole position in almost a year. However if you were thinking of covering off that possibility this weekend, Webber odds for pole position are only 3.25.

The best argument for betting against Vettel could be that this weekend he is likely to be focused on achieving the minimum he needs to wrap up his fourth world championship title. We saw this at Japan in 2011 where Vettel appeared to settle for third place to guarantee the title, rather than chase down Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

In that scenario Webber has a good chance of being the beneficiary and offers odds of 5.00 to score his first win of the year. Vettel doesn't even need to finish the race to win the title this weekend: if Alonso finishes lower than second Vettel will be champion whatever else happens.


Take a look at Lotus

But the pick of the non-Vettel options has to be the Lotus drivers. Lotus, like Red Bull, are powered by Renault engines, and rival teams believe the engine manufacturer has recently made significant gains in traction. Renault-powered cars locked out the podium in the last two races.

Romain Grosjean is in superb form at the moment. He shot to the front of the field at the start in Japan and stayed there for 26 laps - almost half the race.

For this weekend's race in India, Pirelli are bringing tyres that are considerably softer than those used previously. Lotus have generally preferred these more aggressive tyres, as well as the hot conditions that teams are likely to experience in India.

That being so, odds of 15.00 for either Grosjean or Kimi Raikkonen to win the race look very nice indeed. Of the two, I would tip Grosjean as Raikkonen's form in qualifying has not been as strong in recent races.

Betting against Vettel is risky business at the moment. His streak of five consecutive wins is something only five other drivers in F1 history have managed. But all streaks come to an end eventually and just as theirs did, Vettel's will too.

And when it does it will likely be broken by someone offering very appealing odds on victory.


Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic