Take Hamilton to stop Vettel
Sky Sports News' Formula One pundit Tony Jardine previews Sunday's Korean Grand Prix.
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F1 teams now face a slog of six races in eight weeks. Forget the glamour, this is now an endurance test to see who can maintain momentum and keep delivering as the relentless pace takes its toll.
Red Bull want to put both titles to bed as early as they can, while Ferrari and Mercedes are realistically fighting for second.
Fernando Alonso says Ferrari need luck and Toto Wolff of Mercedes says they must take second place to create the platform for their 2014 challenge.
Korea is the least favourite venue of the F1 brigade. The track is situated in the middle of nowhere 200 miles south of Seoul, but is at least a track with great passing areas but a circuit of two halves.
In the first half there are long straights with DRS chances to overtake then turns three and four provide passing opportunities. Part two of the track combines slow, medium and fast corners but there is one line and walls close enough to bite as Mark Webber found out in 2010 when he crashed out at turn 12.
The anti-clockwise track seems to take away the flow as Jenson Button observed: "Every time you are settling into a rhythm the track changes direction unexpectedly - it doesn't have a flow."
The track is green, it is only used for the Grand Prix once a year and at this fourth running of the Korean GP teams will need to keep changing the car as the circuit evolves. Low grip, a slippery surface and pressure on the right front tyre point to good traction, good aerodynamics and accuracy from the drivers.
Yep, Sebastian Vettel is the favourite again but check the odds as you won't be a big earner off the man heading for his fourth straight title. He has won twice here, the car has no weaknesses and he is in form so play safe if you must.
Surely Vettel's luck may change? In 2010 his engine blew . Could something go wrong? The opposition hope so and we must look at the man who has finished second twice.
Although he has messed up the last two qualifying sessions (Italy and Singapore) to blunt his race chances, Lewis Hamilton is driving the second best car and if he can qualify on the front row (I have him in second) he can win. I am backing Alonso to finish second which he managed in both Italy and Singapore despite the lack of speed from the Ferrari and he won here in 2010.
His luck may need to change for the above to happen but I still think Vettel will reach the podium in third place with Nico Rosberg fourth after his bold attempt to wrest the lead from the Red Bull at the start of the Singapore GP.
Webber is my man for pole in the Red Bull but he could fade in the race especially as he will not be front of the queue for the strategy decision from the pit wall, hence my fifth place prediction.
Whilst Button is saying he is determined to achieve a good result here, the McLaren has yet to score a podium this season and their minds are on 2014 already, he should however be good for sixth place.
Speculation surrounds Kimi Raikkonen's participation in the race. He says he will see how his back is after first practice but there could be other factors at work. If it is his back and he starts, could he be the first driver to retire? Worth a punt at 25/1 in that category on Sky Bet. I think his team-mate Romain Grosjean is good for seventh in the other Lotus.
The balance of my top 10 for Yeongam is Paul Di Resta eighth after his second crash in as many races, he needs a good finish to restore the faith, then Daniel Ricciardo for ninth in the Toro Rosso.
Could we see a Williams in the top 10? Let's hope so, I am willing Valtteri Bottas on to the final points scoring position.
With seven wins already this season and a fourth title looming Vettel is the man but his luck has to change sometime and there are always twists in F1! The opposition are willing things to go awry in the Red Bull camp.
Realistically that is the best chance they've got! However, if it does not go the right way for once join with me on Hamilton, he will be there to capitalise.