Japanese Grand Prix Betting: One good reason to bet against Vettel

There are many good reasons to consider Sebastian Vettel a shoo-in for the win in Japan this weekend.

His form is excellent at the moment - indeed, he's approaching the kind of domination we last saw with Michael Schumacher in 2004. He's won six of the last eight races, a stretch which includes the British Grand Prix, where Vettel was leading comfortably until his gearbox failed.

His form in Suzuka is hard to fault. He's been on pole position here every time he's raced at the circuit. The Red Bull has been the perfect instrument for tackling the exciting high-speed curves of Suzuka since its reinstatement to the schedule in 2009.

From there he has gone on to win three of the following races. Only in 2011 did he fail to convert pole position into victory - and that was a day when a conservatively-minded Vettel just needed to drive a steady race to guarantee the points he needed to wrap up his second world championship title.

So Vettel's current form is excellent and his track record at Suzuka is near-faultless. Surely you'd have to be crazy to bet against him.

Perhaps. But the law of average tends to catch up eventually: all winning streaks have to end. Vettel, who is 1.55 to win in Japan, has won the last four races consecutively and history shows it's exceptionally rare for drivers to win five in a row.

How rare? Only five drivers in F1 history have ever done it. Schumacher achieved it most recently, as did Nigel Mansell, Jim Clark, Jack Brabham and Alberto Ascari.

Anyone with a good understanding of probability will point out that because Vettel has won the last four races doesn't make him less likely to win a fifth. But if you need a reason to look beyond Vettel this weekend, the rarity of the feat he would accomplish if he were to is a starting point. After all, it's the only way you're going to find any rewarding odds


Look to Mercedes and Lotus

I suspect Mercedes will be Red Bull's closest rival this weekend - they are the only team who've been capable of keeping the RB9 from pole position.

Two of their three wins this season have been achieved by leading from pole and keeping their rivals at arm's length - as Nico Rosberg did in Monaco and as Lewis Hamilton did in Hungary.

Suzuka is another venue where that sort of approach is possible. Overtaking is tricky around the compact Japanese course, and unlike most tracks this year drivers will only get assistance from DRS once per lap. Hamilton offers odds of 3.50 for pole position and 7.00 to win, which is long enough to merit a look.

Ferrari seem to have lost their way since Pirelli introduced their revised tyre compounds mid-season. Alonso may be the closest driver to Vettel in the championship but he's so far behind that the Red Bull driver could spend the next three race weekend on the beach and come back still leading the points.

I'd also be tempted to take a serious look at Romain Grosjean's odds for Lotus. He has raised his game of late, qualifying inside the top three for the last two races. The E21 remains one of the best cars for eking out life from its tyres. One of the biggest disappointments of Sunday's race was that the Safety Car appearance meant we never got to see whether Grosjean could have used that to halt Vettel's winning charge.

If he can this weekend, odds of 15.00 for him and Japanese race engineer Ayao Komatsu to clinch victory are very appealing.


Check Unibet's full range of Japanese Grand Prix odds.

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