Vettel ends Merc pole run but victory is far from certain

9Jun 2013

F1

Sebastian Vettel snared pole position on a drying track for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix. James Frankland reports on who is best-placed to threaten him for victory in Montreal...

Sebastian Vettel navigated difficult conditions in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix to take pole position for Sunday's race, ending Mercedes' run of four consecutive poles. In doing so he wrests back the advantage for tomorrow's race, which may also feature the kind of changeable conditions that affected qualifying.

Variances in the weather usually give someone a chance to shine, and on this day it was Valtteri Bottas, the young Finnish rookie in his first season in F1, who took his Williams-Renault to the dizzying heights of third position, splitting the Mercedes pair with Lewis Hamilton starting ahead and Nico Rosberg behind.

Bottas is a full 13 places higher than his average qualifying position and has made up 15 places in total this season, so with those numbers I ought to be tipping him to at least maintain position, right? Well no, I think experience of these conditions counts for a lot and he has two of the most knowledgeable drivers behind him in Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, so I expect to see them get past the Williams youngster tomorrow.

You can still back him at 1.7 to finish in the points, which might be worth a look as the race could be wet.

A Top Six Finish is at 3.75 which might also be tempting.

While Vettel, starting from pole, is the pre-race favourite, Canada is a track at which pole position doesn't guarantee victory. Only three times in the last 10 years has the polesitter won, and I'm looking at Ferrari and Alonso as strong contenders.

Alonso has looked promising in practice on long runs with little tyre wear and good pace, and so I think he's worth backing to get on the top step of the podium at 5.3, as I don't expect the Mercedes pair to maintain their positions here. Monaco was a one-off that suited their cars and made it nigh-impossible for anyone to pass even if their tyres had shown signs of fading, but on a more regular circuit they ought to fall backwards, giving Alonso a chance to get at Vettel.

Red Bull have never won in Canada and I expect that trend to be maintained, though I reckon both their cars will be on the podium barring any mechanical or unforeseen problems, and there's better value on backing Mark Webber at 2.0.

Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean both endured tricky qualifying sessions to start in the lower reaches of the grid, di Resta 17th and Grosjean 19th. With fast cars underneath them and overtaking not particularly challenging here, I think that one or both of them could make it into the points and I'm going with di Resta.

He finishes on average four places higher than his grid slot, but normally starts around 11th place, so is racing with faster cars than he'll face tomorrow. Back him at the best available odds to pick off the slower runners and emerge with at least one point from the Canadian Grand Prix.

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Keywords: Vettel, Merc, pole, Red ull

Source: Betfair

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