At 38 points clear at the top of the Drivers’ Championship and priced at 2/9 to claim a fourth straight title, Sebastian Vettel would be forgiven for thinking this year’s quest for dominance is over.
The German won’t admit that of course, and he might be wise not to given the recent experiences of drivers who have been ahead of the pack at this halfway stage of the Formula One season.
With the completion of last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix ensuring that 10 of the 19 races of the season have now passed by, Vettel looks to be sitting pretty.
But in three of the last six seasons, the driver leading at this stage has failed to win the Championship.
Indeed, on the last two occasions that a post-Hungary lead has been blown it was Vettel who came from behind and took the honours, with the Red Bull man pipping Fernando Alonso last year and team-mate Mark Webber in 2010.
Prior to that, Kimi Raikkonen’s title win in 2007 came after Lewis Hamilton led the standings following the trip to the Hungaroring.
That should give Vettel plenty to think about ahead of the return of Formula One at the Belgian Grand Prix next weekend, with the German the 15/8 favourite to claim a second win in Spa in three years.
Perhaps he’ll be motivated by the prospect of avoiding the post-Hungary turnaround though, especially given that the advantage surrendered in 2012 was greater than the one he has now.
Alonso led the Drivers’ Championship by 40 points from Webber and 42 from the eventual winner Vettel at this stage last year, before ending the season in second place.
The Spaniard is available at 11/1 to beat Vettel to glory this time around, with the 7/1 Hamilton – who is 48 points back in fourth – seen as more likely to emerge from the chasing pack and claim victory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication
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