Friday, May 7, 2010

Spanish Grand Prix Preview

After a three week long break, Formula One returns and this weekend’s racing action comes from the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Jenson Button and McLaren top the championships, but the start of the European section of the season usually entails plenty of car development. Who has upgraded their car the best and who will take the twenty-five points for a win? previews the Spanish Grand Prix here.

Outright Race Winner Odds (supplied by William Hill):

• Sebastian Vettel – 2/1
• Lewis Hamilton – 10/3
• Fernando Alonso – 4/1
• Mark Webber – 7/1
• Jenson Button – 15/2
• Nico Rosberg – 14/1
• Michael Schumacher – 14/1
• Felipe Massa – 14/1
• Robert Kubica – 40/1
• Adrian Sutil – 66/1
• Rubens Barrichello – 100/1
• Vitaly Petrov – 150/1
• Vitantonio Liuzzi – 200/1
• Sebastien Buemi – 200/1
• Jamie Alguersuari – 200/1
• Nico Hulkenburg – 250/1
• Kamui Kobayashi – 250/1
• Pedro de la Rosa – 250/1
• Heikki Kovalainen – 500/1
• Jarno Trulli – 500/1
• Lucas di Grassi – 1000/1
• Timo Glock – 1000/1
• Karun Chandhok – 1500/1
• Bruno Senna – 1500/1

Spanish Grand Prix Motor Sports Odds : The Circuit de Catalunya is similar in certain aspects to the last circuit that Formula One visited at the Chinese Grand Prix in that it is tough on tyres and has a massive start/finish straight. Will this play into the hands of McLaren, like things did in China? I believe it will. The McLaren cars were the first to use the F-duct and, despite it being roundly copied by many other teams, they and their drivers will go into this race knowing how to get the best of it on the long straight without having to learn it in Friday’s free practice sessions. With Jenson Button having claimed wins in two of the four races so far this season and Lewis Hamilton having provided some of the most astounding drives of the season, both drivers will be highly motivated for this race and will push each other and, in my opinion, one of them will take the chequered flag. Who will it be though?

With the way that Hamilton goes through the tyres and the track in Barcelona being incredibly abrasive, I feel that Jenson Button will finish the race on the top step of the podium. However, it is going to be incredibly close between the drivers and with the weather forecast for Sunday being “Light showers / patchy light rain possible, especially later in race” I’m going to hedge my bets and back a McLaren to win the race @ 15/8 rather than back either driver.

Of the other two big hitting teams this season, Ferrari and Red Bull, what does the weekend have in store for them? Firstly, Red Bull have claimed pole position at all four races so far this year and are undoubtedly the fastest car over one lap. For this reason alone I will be backing a Red Bull to begin the Spanish Grand Prix on pole position and despite the fact that they have locked out the top starting spot all season long a Red Bull to start on pole can be backed at an attractive 4/6. In the race both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will stand a good chance of claiming some good points should the rain fall as forecast. However, should the race remain dry I am not sure how well their tyres will last on such a hard tyre circuit, especially as the Red Bull cars are fairly hard on their tyres normally.

After some poor showings so far this year Felipe Massa is now a massive 14/1 to win the Spanish Grand Prix. These are the same odds as both of the Mercedes drivers who are yet to come close to challenging the top spot of podium! However, home favourite Fernando Alonso has put in some excellent performances at his new team and I feel that he will be challenging for a podium place on Sunday afternoon, as long as he does not get stuck behind his team-mate again. Alonso can be backed at 10/11 to end the race in the top three.

A final word on the biggest name in Formula One history – Michael Schumacher. His comeback has not gone as planned with his team-mate Nico Rosberg having outperformed him every race so far. However, Mercedes have put a massive amount of work into developing their car over the last three weeks and have made plenty of changes in the hope that the German will be competitive again. If this pays off and he can find some form then it is not too late for Mercedes to make a charge up the championship table. Hopefully in making the changes to the car they do not make a mess of things for Nico Rosberg who has two fifth and two third placed finishes to his name and sits second in the drivers championship. I feel that the changes will help Schumacher and the team and he will gain some well needed points this weekend. Schumacher can be backed at 11/10 to finish in the top six positions at the end of the race and I feel that he is worth a small wager. Recommends:

• A Red Bull car to be on pole position @ 4/6
• A McLaren car to win the race @ 15/8
• Fernando Alonso to finish on the podium @ 10/11
• Michael Schumacher to finish in the top six @ 11/10

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