In case you haven’t noticed, the new F1 season begins this weekend. If you didn’t know that you’re definitely not a Sky Sports subscriber because they’ve been bombarding viewers with action slow-mos of tyres and clips of Georgie Thompson to get us excited about it. And they have aroused our interest…. in the sport.
A German has been dominating F1. His car has been faster than anybody else’s and he makes it look all too easy. Hell, it could be the late 90’s.
The careers of current F1 champion Sebastian Vettel and legend Michael Schumacher have followed similar trajectories but last season the 24 year old went up a gear.
The Red Bull driver had the 2011 season all but wrapped up after half the season. His points tally was phenomenal and if he continues to rip F1 apart, he will match if not surpass some of Schumacher’s achievements in the sports.
Australia hosts the first F1 Grand Prix of the season. Vettel the even-money favourite for the 2012 Drivers Championship is expected to dominate proceedings as he did last year.
But is there anyone in the F1 ranks that can knock the German off his perch. Or should that be podium?
Kimi Raikkonen’s return to the ranks makes things a little more interesting but who of the current drivers can step up to the mark?
Mark Webber (Red Bull)
“We have to do our best and see where we get to, but I know I feel good, I have confidence in myself and the team. Why not?”
Same car, different results. Maybe the driver does make a difference? The Aussie found it hard to keep pace with his team-mate last year and he’ll be determined to challenge for the title.
Adjusting to the new Pirelli tyres was apparently the reason for a poor start to last season so he’ll be hoping for better this year to get him closer to Vettel. He’s never performed on home turf so the 35 year old will be hoping to shine in Melbourne this weekend and set himself up for a good season. Price: 14/1.
Jenson Button (McLaren)
The much-maligned Button is as much a contender for the title this year as he is every year. Victory in Canada last season proved that the 2009 Champion still has it.
With 210 F1 races to his name, the British driver’s experience and knowledge plays a huge part in the tactical battles during races and he’ll be in with a big chance this year to mix it up with Vettel. Some would even argue he’s now McLaren’s No 1. Price: 5/1
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
“Inner demons” were apparently troubling Lewis last season, but since then he has reacquainted himself with a certain Pussycat Doll and everything is rosy again.
Add into the mix reports that his new trackside manager Didier Coton is having a big influence, the British driver might be in for a good season.
If he has regained his composure and finds the ‘right place’ mentally, Hamilton is capable of setting the title race alight if his car has the necessary speed. A lot of ifs though. Price: 4/1
Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
Testing for the Spaniard has reportedly not gone well through the winter. F1 cars are always evolving what’s said publicly can be contradicted privately.
The 30-year-old champion of 2005 and 2006 remains a ferocious competitor, capable of great speed and commitment, but it looks as if Ferrari do not have the car or the technical strength to compete with Red Bull and, possibly, McLaren.
Felipe Massa could threaten to be the No 1 driver again. Alonso needs to raise his and the scuderia’s game if they are to deliver a first title in fours years. Price: 9/1