Sebastian Vettel claimed a hat-trick of Drivers’ Championship titles following a dramatic climax to the 2012 season in Brazil and has been immediately installed as the favourite for glory next season.
The German is a shade better than even money at 5/4 after battling back from the brink at Interlagos, where his car was spun around in the first lap following a collision with Bruno Senna. This left him with a broken exhaust and no chance of winning the race, but a desperate surge through the midfield granted him a sixth-place finish as well as the world crown by a slender margin of three points.
His struggles in the early exchanges seemed to spur Fernando Alonso on who was briefly in a championship-winning position before Vettel came roaring back.
The Spaniard eventually settled for second in Brazil, as he did in the title race, and can be backed as 5/2 second-favourite to go one better and trump the Red Bull man next term.
With Lewis Hamilton taking himself out of contention for the foreseeable future, it appears it will be these two slugging it out for Formula One’s most coveted prize when the music starts again.
The closest contender as far as the betting is concerned is his former McLaren teammate and Interlagos victor Jenson Button, but his price of 8/1 reflects how far behind the two front-runners he actually is.
Hamilton – who will be replacing the outgoing Michael Schumacher at Mercedes – can be backed at 14’s to win his second world title, but this is probably an unfair representation of his actual chances.
The fact that Ladbrokes have him priced up at 1/1 not to win a single race in the 2013 season suggests just how far off the pace he is likely to be, while the 8/11 that says he will claim at least one victory is distinctly lacking in value.
A bet with far greater potential for windfall is the 8/1 available for Vettel to beat Schumacher’s all-time record of seven championships.
He’s currently four behind his compatriot but looks well-placed to retain again next season and, aged just 25, he has time on his side to chip away at the eight titles required to become the greatest driver in Formula One history.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date