Vettel to prolong Indian summer

  • By: Tom Millard
  • Last Updated: October 25 2012, 13:35 BST

Sebastian Vettel can maintain his late-season form by taking pole position for the Indian Grand Prix according to our expert Tom Millard.

Sebastian Vettel: Looks primed for pole

A lacklustre Korean Grand Prix provided little in the way of racing and showed even less to suggest that Red Bull's recent domination is to come to an end.

Sebastian Vettel brushed aside the inconvenience of having his team-mate Mark Webber pip him to pole position by out-dragging him to the first corner and was able to control the race from the front.

It was a straightforward demonstration of superiority from the German, one which brought to mind his effortless displays throughout last season.

Vettel has now usurped long-time leader Fernando Alonso in the championship battle and a best price of of 3/10 reflects the likelihood of his joining the greats of the sport by taking a third world crown.

The odds of Vettel winning in India this weekend are more generous - 11/10 is readily available at the bookies and on the exchanges which is something of a surprise given his clear superiority throughout all three days in Yeongam.

Since taking the lead from the stricken Lewis Hamilton in Singapore last month, Vettel has led every lap of every race and has never been seriously threatened on his way to a hat-trick of victories at the most crucial stage of the season.

Red Bull appear to have edged decisively clear of Ferrari and McLaren in the development race and the gap of around a quarter of a second in race pace and slightly more than that over a single flying lap is likely to be too much for the Maranello and Woking operations to claw back.

Upgrades to the front wing, rear suspension and the innovative 'double DRS' device on Vettel's and Webber's cars seem to have put them clear of the chasing pack and there is nothing to suggest that their advantage won't be maintained in the remaining quartet of races.

If not for a misjudgement on his qualifying lap in Korea Vettel would have taken pole position comfortably and it's that market in which the value appears to lie at the Buddh circuit this weekend.

The introduction of the double DRS system has allowed the team to run its cars with more downforce without suffering a corresponding increase in drag down the main straights, thus giving the Red Bulls a crucial edge in qualifying, which can then be protected during the race.

Vettel has out-qualified Webber in six out of the last seven races and once again appears to have the focus which was a hallmark of his success in 2011.

He took pole position by 0.3 seconds and set the fastest lap on his way to winning a rather unmemorable inaugural Indian Grand Prix last year and it might pay to anticipate a similar outcome this time around.

A race win would be heavily contingent on Vettel heading the grid again so the qualifying market looks to be the place to head once again.

Boylesports, Blue Square and Ladbrokes are all offering 4/5 on the German taking his fifth pole of the season, which looks a very fair price considering the machinery propelling him.

A podium of Vettel, Webber and Alonso would be no surprise on Sunday morning but look to Felipe Massa to continue his recent renaissance in the second Ferrari.

Massa was genuinely faster than his revered team-mate in Korea and the Brazilian can celebrate his new contract with another solid drive.

He's 4/5 for a top-six finish but as long as 9/1 to finish in the top three which looks a decent outside bet given the pace he showed in the Far East.

Also take the slight odds-on for Nico Hulkenberg to finish in the points in his team's home race.

The Force India driver has upstaged his highly-rated team-mate Paul di Resta in recent weeks and has finished sixth and seventh on merit in his last two outings.

The pace he showed in Japan and Singapore suggests the German should be shorter than 10/11 to take another top 10 finish.

  • Friday's practice sessions are scheduled for 0530 and 0930 BST; Saturday's is at 0630 BST with qualifying at 0930. Sunday's race starts at 0930 GMT.

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