A Red Bull on pole position isn’t a surprise in this era of Formula One, but at Suzuka it’s Mark Webber who will head the field when the lights go out, not Sebastian Vettel.
Webber’s stunning lap in qualifying, aided by KERS issues for his German team-mate, ensured the Aussie a first pole position in his farewell season in the sport.
The former Williams and Minardi driver is 9/4 to win in Japan, in what would be his first victory of the year.
Three-time title winner Vettel remains favourite at 8/13, having won each of the past four races, as well as three of the past four events at Suzuka.
While Vettel has been claiming win after win in 2013, Webber’s season has been a mix of ups and downs, with strong results denied him in the past two grand prix by incidents out of his control.
But starting upfront tomorrow should ensure the 37-year-old keeps out of trouble, and from there he can give his fellow Red Bull driver a run for his money.
Vettel could win the championship if he wins the race and Fernando Alonso finishes ninth or lower, but Webber isn’t likely to yield should team orders come into play.
With four more races to go after this, there is plenty of time for Vettel to secure his fourth-successive championship if things not go his way in Japan.
Behind the ever-dominant Red Bull men, Lewis Hamilton has looked the only man capable of mustering a challenge this weekend.
The Mercedes pilot posted the fastest time in opening practice on Friday, but has since had to watch Webber and Vettel consistently lap faster.
Nevertheless, should problems hit the front two – they have collided in the past – Hamilton is 12/1 to pick up a second win of the season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing
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