In the same week Mark Webber announced that he was leaving Formula One, it is perhaps apt that those that have been touted as his possible replacements are the ones looking sharp, following the early practice sessions at Silverstone.
Indeed, last year’s British Grand Prix winner himself delivered a very competitive performance on a rain interrupted day, finishing second fastest.
Kimi Raikkonen, favourite to replace Webber at Red Bull next season has been his consistent self this year, picking up four podium finishes. The Lotus team are definitely a team on the up, and their early pace this campaign is encouraging.
The Iceman holds the track record at the Northamptonshire track and is currently a massive 33/1 to start on pole on Sunday, with each way bets covering the first three qualifying positions.
He was a disappointing 13th fastest in second practice, but a car apparently with a high fuel load was never going to trouble the top times in these early stages. Couple that with a new ‘passive’ DRS system in the Lotus cars, Raikkonen looks great value.
Another driver who is a huge price to start the race from the front row of the grid is Fernando Alonso. Victorious at the circuit in 2006 and 2011, the Spaniard certainly knows his way around the curves of Becketts, Stowe and Copse.
He has come out this week stating that both he and the Ferrari team as a whole need to improve to close the gap to the Red Bulls. This could certainly be the week, and it may prove wise to take a chance on the double World Champion claiming pole, available at 14/1 with Ladbrokes.
Away from the drivers likely to be scrapping for the podium positions, another name that has been touted to take Webber’s vacancy is Daniel Ricciardo.
The young Torro Rosso driver recorded the fastest time in first practice, albeit of only 12 cars to set a time, and delivered a very credible sixth fastest later in the day.
Although unlikely to trouble the principles, the Australian is definitely one to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing