Posted by Ollie Drew
The 2013 Formula One Championship promises to be one of the most competitive in years. Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes was the main talking point in the off-season and all eyes will be on the Brit in Melbourne this weekend. The former McLaren driver hasn’t won down under since 2008 and it’s his old teammate that has a superb record here.
Jenson Button remained with Martin Whitmarsh at McLaren and thrives at this track. He’s won here on three of his last four visits to Melbourne and he won the season opener 12 months ago. McLaren have won 12 times here as a team and the addition of Sergio Perez should make them even more competitive.
Posted by William Chrimes
Jenson Button’s somewhat unorthodox second place finish in Germany signaled McLaren’s intent for the remainder of the F1 season as the new package looks to have made an immediate impact. Lewis Hamilton was not so fortunate around the Hockenheim track, but his drive showed enough pace to suggest he can compete this weekend in Hungary.
That’s good news for Martin Whitmarsh and spread bettors backing McLaren on the weekend as they have historically performed extremely well at the Hungaroring. As it stands the teams have won there on ten occasions since its inception in 1936. That record is just as relevant today given that a McLaren driver has won five of the past seven renewals.
The European Grand Prix finally put an end to the incredible run of seven different winners from the opening seven races of the year as Fernando Alonso took the chequered flag in Valencia. It’s Britain’s turn next as the racing returns to Silverstone and Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will be desperate to chase down Alonso’s lead at the top.
As it stands Alonso has a 20 point lead in the Drivers’ Championship as neither Sebastian Vettel or Hamilton were able to complete the previous race. The concern for the chasing pack is that Alonso enjoys the Silverstone circuit and won here in 2011 to add to his first title in 2006. Ferrari have won the most races here, with 15 compared with McLaren’s 14.
Hamilton won here in 2008 and is only 23 points behind his former McLaren teammate, but his biggest threat remains the pit crew who have been plagued by problems all year.
Michael Schumacher might also be worth keeping an eye on for the race index after the German recorded his first podium finish since his return at Valencia. The former world number one has won the British GP on three occasions – the last coming in 2004.
Sebastian Vettel is standout favourite on Sporting Index’s drivers championship market and punters can buy his spread at 40 for him to land a third successive F1 title. The young German destroyed the field last season, but he’s still five behind Michael Schumacher’s haul of seven titles.
The 2011 champion opened up last season by winning the Australian Grand Prix and beating Lewis Hamilton into second place. Vettel completed 2011 with 15 pole starts, 11 victories and 17 podiums from his 19 races; he also gained a total of 392 points in the process.
Jenson Button finished fourth at Melbourne last season, but he has enjoyed plenty of recent success at Albert Park. The McLaren driver won the opening Grand Prix in 2010 and 2009. Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 Australian Grand Prix to underline the success that Martin Whitmarsh’s team have had at the track.
Although Jenson Button’s McLaren set the pace in practice at The Turkish Grand Prix, Friday’s sessions didn’t really tell us a lot, owing to Istanbul’s inclement weather. Vettel crashed out in the wet, but don’t think that will stop him in qualifying tomorrow - he’s going for his fourth straight Pole Position of the season.
However, we’ve seen Vettel relinquish his starting grid lead once already this season and the McLarens of Button and Lewis Hamilton are likely to be there or thereabouts come the final few laps on Sunday. The Woking-based team recorded a one-two at this circuit last season and Hamilton will hope to turn the screw on the German Championship leader, by winning his second successive race.
Button has form in Turkey too, winning in his Championship-winning Brawn in 2009.
Although I wouldn’t go against the one-lap speed of the Red Bull, the Race Index value looks to be with Hamilton, available to buy at 31 with Sporting Index (Vettel can be bought at 37). The McLarens have undergone a fairly significant upgrade, which, at first look seems to be working well, while Hamilton looks happy despite his own claims that thinks he will struggle. Mind games, anyone?
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