Lewis Hamilton looks like the deserved 4/7 favourite to win the Abu Dhabi GP after showing blistering form in qualifying.
The soon-to-be Mercedes driver topped all three stages of qualifying with a car that seems built for driving on this track.
Hamilton took pole position with a quickest lap of 1:40.630 to increase his slim hopes of challenging Sebastian Vettel for the drivers’ championship.
McLaren’s 27-year-old claimed his sixth pole of the year and his 25th of his career, and will be expected to pick up his fourth win of 2012 over the weekend.
Standings leader Vettel had problems with his car but showed glimpses of his impressive form this campaign to secure third spot going into the race.
The German might face a penalty for stopping on his way back to the pits after qualifying finished – as Hamilton did in Spain – although it is not known why he brought the car to a halt.
Vettel holds a 12-point lead in the championship over Fernando Alonso, although for this race his odds are long at 5/1.
Ferrari’s title challenger had a day to forget, despite insisting that he had sought the ‘maximum’ available from his vehicle.
A number of updates could have put the Spaniard in the perfect position to capitalise on Red Bull’s dip in fortunes, although he could only manage seventh in the end.
If Alonso falls apart in the UAE and ends the race further down the pecking order, while Vettel finishes nearer the top then it could all but wrap up a third championship title for the winner last time out.
Mark Webber will hope to add his presence into the mix for podium achievement’s after he ended qualifying in second, less than half a second behind Hamilton.
Red Bull’s Australian is the only driver given a strong chance of overhauling Hamilton to win the race, with odds available at 7/2 to do so.
Pastor Malonnado and Kimi Räikkönen came in fourth and fifth respectively, and while they are long-shots for victory both could trouble the podium.
The Finish racer can be backed at 5/2 to finish in the top three, whilst Venezuela’s Maldonnado can be backed at 4/1.
Button ended sixth and is priced at 5/2 to end up on the podium, although the plaudits belonged to his McLaren team-mate Hamilton.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh was full of praise for their pole position driver, saying: “He has always been strong here and he is just on fire this weekend.”
While Vettel may be set to lift the 2012 championship trophy, Hamilton should be backed to follow up his qualifying pole with outright success at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.