The Formula One campaign gets under way this weekend, slightly later than scheduled due to the postponement of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Last season’s title scrap was a thriller going right to the wire, with four drivers starting the final race with the chance of overall success and this year, again, there look to be several contenders with realistic claims.
Defending champion Sebastian Vettel is 9/4 at Betfred to retain his crown and he will undoubtedly have his backers given his performances in the latter part of 2010. The German is in arguably the class car in the field, Red Bull’s RB7, and has to be considered the man to beat even if his relationship with team mate Mark Webber at times looks strained.
Webber, for his part, is a far chunkier 10/1 at Sportingbet, bookies clearly thinking his chance came and went last year but it seems a touch premature to write-off the man that dominated the championship for much of last season, when he will again be in the best car. Rest assured, the Aussie will be much shorter than 10/1 (a win-only price) if he lands the spoils on home soil this weekend and he could be worth an each-way interest at 7/1 with Coral, who offer three places at a quarter the odds.
McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are available at 8/1 and 18/1 with William Hill and Stan James respectively but questions marks surround the car and the duo could be hamstrung by a poor start as the team battles to get up to speed over the opening few races.
Fernando Alonso however, in a revamped Ferrari, is definitely in the hunt. The Spaniard, at 11/4 with Totesport, has consistency and experience on his side, he will be the focus of the team’s efforts and early signs are that the car will be fast and reliable. He’s one of three men, the others being the two Red Bull drivers that can clinch the crown.
The Mercedes looked quick in a recent practice and the team have plenty of experience in the camp but Michael Schumacher may not possess the pace of old and as such 14/1 looks about right, meanwhile, Renault’s chances of bothering the top of the standings probably ended when Robert Kubica suffered his terrible rallying accident.