Mark Webber’s stunning victory at Silverstone has seen him emerge as a genuine contender for the 2012 F1 World Drivers’ Championship, but fans can expect plenty more twists and turns this season (outright betting).
Webber became only the second driver to win two races this season, which illustrates just how unpredictable the 2012 campaign has been so far.
The Australian qualified second behind Drivers’ Championship leader Fernando Alonso but produced a near-faultless performance to overturn the Spaniard’s advantage and cross the line three seconds ahead of his nearest challenger.
Alonso was able to hold on for second ahead of reigning champion Sebastien Vettel, and the points that come with the podium finish could prove invaluable come the end of the season.
The two-time world champion has taken points from every race this season and has failed to pick up less than 10 on only two occasions.
Emerging challenger Webber has also shown a decent level of consistency in 2012, though a scoreless outing in Spain earlier this year could prove costly if the race for the title goes the distance.
But this is far from a two-horse race and it’d be foolish to rule out late surges form title holder Vettel and British hope Lewis Hamilton.
Thirteen points separate Alonso and Webber in the top two, with Vettel another 16 points back on 100 and Hamilton on 92.
Alonso is available at odds of 7/4, though there is real value to be gained elsewhere.
Despite Webber’s continued strong form he is the fourth favourite at 6/1, with Hamilton available at 4/1, and Vettel priced at 9/4 to win his third consecutive Drivers’ Championship.
The German won five of the final eight races of the 2011 Formula 1 season to storm to the title at the expense of Button and Webber, wrapping up his triumph despite retiring from the penultimate race in Abu Dhabi.
Vettel has proven himself to be be a driver capable of producing his strongest performances when it matters most, and so it is surprising that he is available at relatively long odds.
Meanwhile, though scooping first place on the final day of the 2011 season, Webber struggled to take his performances to the next level and turn his title challenge into a first ever Championship success.
The 35-year-old has recorded just nine Grand Prix wins in 13 seasons as a Formula 1 driver, so it isn’t so surprising that he is available at such long odds.
Though his consistency so far this season could be of particular value, especially when you consider the unpredictable nature of results so far this year.
Elsewhere, Alonso and Hamilton are two drivers with a particularly strong appetite for a battle, and that fighting quality could serve them well during the latter stages of the 2012 season.
But Hamilton’s season has been punctuated with a number of below par performances, and he cannot afford a repeat of his failure to finish at the European Grand Prix, or even contemplate another below-par performance of the like he produced at Silverstone, where he disappointed the home crowd with an eighth-placed finish.
But, while Alonso may be the rightful favourite at this relatively advanced stage of the season, only a fool would predict a smooth path to success for the Spaniard.