Double world champion Sebastian Vettel’s chances of breaking the incredible run of seven different winners in seven races this season were enhanced by setting the pace in the second of Friday’s practise sessions in Valencia.
The German has won the race in each of the last two years, a feat that he only achieved at one other race (Malaysia) despite his dominance over that period, so would already have been fairly confident of completing a hat-trick at 11/4.
However, extra encouragement could be gleaned from the disappointing performance of main Constructors Championship rivals and Canadian Grand Prix victors McLaren, with Jenson Button (8/1) placing 12th and Lewis Hamilton (4/1) 14th.
At the Valencian Street Circuit, pole position is all important, with three of the four previous editions being won by the fastest qualifier, including each of the instalments that Vettel triumphed in.
The Red Bull’s qualifying displays have been formidable in recent weeks, with the Milton Keynes-based team putting a driver on the front of the grid in three of the last four rounds. Vettel was that man on two occasions and is 9/4 to make it three.
Though Vettel was forced to settle for fourth after an impressive qualifying showing in Canada a fortnight ago, he would expect to triumph from such a position in Valencia given his prior experience of doing so at the European Grand Prix.
Whereas it was felt that were the absurd different winner for each race streak to be continued, one of the Lotus drivers – third in the Constructors charts – would be responsible, it was the Force Indias and Saubers who shone in practise.
Scottish driver Paul di Resta was the most consistent of the outsiders by clocking the sixth strongest time in each session and can be backed at 4/6 to reach Q3 on Saturday, and 11/4 to secure his second top-six finish of the campaign.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.