Sebastian Vettel’s run of three pole positions was finally brought to an end in Japan, but only by his teammate Mark Webber.
One would have expected Vettel to make it four pole positions on the bounce with the German starting there for the last three years at Suzuka but Webber had the edge in Q3 to nick his first pole of the season.
Red Bull Chances
Webber is the only leading driver not to have secured a victory in this Formula One season and the outgoing Australian star won’t have many better opportunities in doing so before his time in the sport comes to an end.
His best finishes so far this campaign have been second places in both Malaysia and Britain but the 37-year-old has a bad habit of making poor starts in his Red Bull.
Can he finally end his run of 25 races without victory in Japan on Sunday? Ladbrokes, amongst others, provide the best odds of 9/4 on a Webber win.
But it would take a brave man to bet against Vettel in the form he’s in. The three-times World Champion has finished on the podium in all six of the last races, a run stretching back to the German Grand Prix in early July.
He’s won five out of those six races and another win on Sunday would see him take another big step towards a fourth world title.
Paddy Power are offering the best odds on him winning a fifth race in a row with odds of 4/6.
Mercedes have looked like the only other car to have a chance of beating the unflappable Red Bulls this weekend and Lewis Hamilton has put himself in a decent position to try and make that happen.
The Brit will start third on the grid tomorrow and Coral provide good value on him winning at 16/1. A safer bet looks to be a podium finish for Hamilton, with Paddy Power providing the best price at 5/4.
Fernando Alonso is the only man who can man who can mathematically catch Vettel now but the Spaniard had another qualifying to forget and will start tomorrow’s race from eighth on the grid.
The Ferrari driver could only achieve a sixth place finish in Korea last weekend after starting from there on the grid.
He needs a podium finish at the very least to maintain any slight chance of a heroic championship comeback and BetFred offer the best price on a top three finish from him at 5/2.
Romain Grosjean is a man driving for his seat next year and a third place finish in Korea has been followed up by another strong showing in Japanese qualifying as he starts fourth.
Bet Victor provide the best odds on the Lotus driver securing back-to-back podium finishes at 13/8.
Teammate Kimi Raikkonen came all the way back from tenth on the grid in Korea to finish second last weekend. Can he repeat that feat and come through the field from ninth tomorrow to secure another podium finish? BetFred offer odds of 7/2 on him doing it again.
The race starts at 7am on Sunday morning and you can watch it live on either BBC One or Sky Sports F1.
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