It was only fitting that one of the most memorable Grand Prix seasons should be settled on the final race day at the historical Brazilian circuit. Sebastian Vettel arrives in Interlagos with a 13 point lead after the German finished runner-up in Texas and Fernando Alonso a place behind him.
Vetell is still the huge odds-on favourite to claim the driver’s championship and that will be his third on the spin at Red Bull should he succeed. Not only has the defending champion been in excellent form over the crucial time of the season, but his team have an excellent record in Brazil.
Red Bull have taken the chequered flag on their past three visits to the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. Vetell was runner-up last year and started on pole having qualified quickest. In 2010 he qualified in second place and went on to win on the all important Sunday.
Fernando Alonso was unable to deliver the win that the passionate Italian fans so desired at Monza, but his third place finish was enough to maintain his lead atop the drivers’ championship. Following Lewis Hamilton’s pole to flag triumph in Italy he cut the Spaniard's lead to 37 points head to Singapore, but Alonso has a superb record at the Marina Bay circuit.
Even though Sebastian Vettel won here last season, Alonso has taken the chequered flag twice in the past four renewals. In the years he didn’t win he came fourth (2011) and sixth (2009).
Sebastian Vettel’s second place finish in Belgium cut Fernando Alonso’s lead in the world championship to 24 points. The Spaniard was hoping for a record-equalling 24th successive points finish before Romain Grosjean’s reckless mistake at the first corner took him out of the race to blow the championship wide open.
As the F1 circus moves on to Italy, the current world champion will be desperate to close the gap further at Monza where he triumphed in 2011. Vettel went pole to flag last year as he held off a challenge from McLaren’s Jenson Button, who finished second ahead of Alonso on the podium. That win was his second in four races at Monza and with the form Vettel’s showing he will fancy his chances of increasing the pressure on the current leader. Over the past five years in Italy, Alonso and Vettel have taken the chequered flag four times.
Kimi Raikkonen finished third at Spa and moved ahead of Hamilton into fourth place in the championship, 33 points behind Alonso. The Finn has enjoyed a terrific season to date, but has never won at Monza.
With one stage of the Formula One season complete, the action moves to Europe and the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. From the four races so far this year, the Championship looks to be one of the closest for years with ten points separating the top five drivers. A familiar face is on top of the pile after Sebastian Vettel’s victory in Bahrain a few weeks ago.
Vettel was untouchable last year, but the opening exchanges suggest he will have to really work hard for a third consecutive F1 title. Spread punters looking to buy his race index will be pleased to know he won in Spain last year and that Red Bull have won the two previous GPs held in Barcelona.
Mark Webber might also be worth looking at in the race index market, as he has started on pole in 2011 and 2010, although he only went on to win the race on Sunday two years ago- as he finished fourth last year.
Kimi Raikkonen finished second in Bahrain, but missed an excellent opportunity to get past Vettel towards the end of the race. The Finnish driver has won in Spain twice before and the most recent occasion was four years ago.