Japanese Grand Prix
Thursday, 11 October 2012 by

Japan Pre-Race Analysis

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First Red Bull front row in 2012
Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Vettel
2nd
Webber
3rd
Kobayashi
4th
Grosjean
5th
Perez
6th
Alonso
6th
Raikkonen
8th
Button
9th
Hamilton
10th
Massa
11th
di Resta
12th
Maldonado
13th
Rosberg
14th
Ricciardo
15th
Hulkenberg
16th
Senna
17th
Kovalainen
18th
Glock

The Red Bulls look like the only serious contenders for victory at Suzuka this year. Vettel was almost a second quicker than the 3rd place man and Webber was not far behind at 0.7 of a second faster than Button. The Red Bull’s also showed strong race pace during the practise sessions and the nearest driver in a McLaren or a Ferrari is a further four places behind Webber. It is very difficult to see how Alonso, Button or Hamilton could challenge for victory. The biggest danger the Red Bulls face is the temperamental nature of both Sauber and Lotus. They show much more variation than most teams, with some tracks that the car seems perfect on and other it simply struggles on. If either team finds that Japan is one of their preferred circuits then either could pull off a surprise victory. However, with passing so difficult at Suzuka should also the Red Bulls to fend off Lotus and Sauber if either has superior pace although they are certainly worth watching for live betting.

Vettel is the firm favourite of the Red Bulls at 53/100 (1.53) from Blue Square whilst Webber has odds of 13/2 (7.50) from Betfair. Whilst Vettel is rightly the favourite, Webber should not be completely ruled out. Vettel seems prone to mechanical failure so Webber is a good back up bet. Also, high tire degradation could leave opportunities open for Webber if Vettel misjudges when to come in and of course Webber could challenge on his own merits. Spreading bets on race winner across both Vettel and Webber is wise. If betting £10, place £8 on Vettel to win £12.24 and £2 on Webber to win £15 whilst losing £10 if anyone else wins.

Both Vettel and Webber are likely to take the podium but with so many other strong cars behind them deciding who takes 3rd place is difficult and so betting on podium finishes is probably bet avoided. Top six finishes are a more interesting bet. Three of the cars in the top six all have usually high odds, with Kobayashi at59/50 (2.18) from Betfair, Grosjean at 63/100 (1.63) from Bet 365 and Perez at 4/5 (1.80) from SkyBet. These odds are usually low since Alonso, Raikkonen, Button and Hamilton are directly behind them. However, of those four drivers only Button is out of place after the grid penalty, the others genuinely seemed to lack race pace. Starting in 3rd Kobayashi seems an excellent bet, Perez not a bad one but the crash prone Grosjean needs higher odds to be worthwhile.

Odds above accurate at Sunday 07th, 01.15 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © Ryosuke Yagi

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