The way the pre-season talk has gone it seems Lewis Hamilton just has to show up to end Sebastian Vettel’s four-year domination of Formula One.
British ace Hamilton – whose solitary title came in 2008 – is the early favourite to take Vettel’s crown at 9/4 after Mercedes stole a march on their rivals in the build up to the season opener in Australia this weekend.
However, while many sections of the media are writing Vettel off, the young German is still confident that he can be among the front runners this year.
Technical issues and a lack of speed in testing have seen Vettel fall down the betting for the race opener at a distant 16/1 to take the chequered flag.
However, it seems the bookies are equally bullish about the four-time reigning champion’s hopes of retaining his crown, with Vettel the 7/2 second favourite to win overall despite his team’s worries.
“We would love to be in a different position going into the first race and have a bit more time but it is the same for everyone,” he said.
“We have to take small steps at this stage. Then, for the rest of the year we have a strong team and strong group in place, so I am confident we will be in good shape not far from now.”
Vettel’s confidence in the face of adversity is perhaps explained by the unpredictable nature of the season that lies ahead.
A raft of changes regarding engine size, fuel allowance and car design mean that all of the teams and racers will be finding their feet for the first few races.
If anyone fails to put clear daylight between themselves and Vettel during that period they can expect the German to be hunting them down in a matter of weeks.
And, with double points on offer for the first time in this year’s season finale, the 7/2 currently available on a fifth straight title for the Red Bull ace starts to look more than a little tempting.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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