The 2012 Formula 1 season heads to the state of the art Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi this weekend as Ladbrokes release the latest F1 odds on the race, with Sebastian Vettel suffering a big blow to his chances of extending his Championship lead, after being demoted during qualification to the back of the grid.
The Red Bull man has won the last four races and now holds a 13-point lead over Fernando Alonso. This means that with three races remaining he can still be caught, but another solid display this weekend will see the odds shorten even further on him leading the way. Vettel has a brilliant record in the three years of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix too.
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He may not have won it last year, but in 2009 and 2010 he showed his class on this circuit and will want to repeat this on Sunday. However, due to a being unable to give a fuel sample, the current F1 leader has been demoted to the back of the grid after qualifying third which has really affected the betting in this race.
Nonetheless, his odds of 33/1 will still attract the attention of punters.
Lewis Hamilton is currently the clear favourite after qualification saw the Brit claim pole position. His odds of 1/2 do look a little on the short side however and should be taken on. Red Bull’s Mark Webber will start second on the grid and he should go close, so the odds of 4/1 could attract plenty of attention from punters.
The Williams of Pastor Maldonado will start in third, although he is not fancied for the race – his odds of 40/1 reflecting his chances. There are quite a few people talking up a victory for Kimi Raikkonen too. Having returned to Formula 1 for the 2012 season, he is third in the driver standings but is yet to win a race.
It would be fantastic for him and Lotus-Renault if he managed it this weekend, and his price of 33/1 could attract plenty of each way backers after the Finn qualified in an impressive fourth on the grid.
In reality though, it is all about Lewis Hamilton and Alonso. These are the two men in realistic contention for the podium and there really are no room for errors. Alonso has already said that he and his Ferrari team need a ‘perfect’ three races to pip the reigning Champion and Alonso’s price of 12/1 to win looks a little too big to ignore.
Elsewhere, this weekend sees Hamilton move a step closer to his Mercedes move. The relationship between he and McLaren has been a strange one of late, but he will want a strong finish to his career with the team he won the World title with in 2008.
For the rest of the drivers – especially those beyond the usual suspects of contenders – it is about taking on this circuit in the best way they can and perhaps upsetting the odds with a podium finish.