F1 Betting: Red Bull finishing the season in style

Will Mark Webber leap ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and into a top three finish?
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Ralph Ellis tells us why, like in football, it's not how you start a season that matters but how you finish it; and he also highlights some wagers to make the last four races interesting...

"I also like Webber at between [2.2] and [3.25] to finish in the championship top three."

The official F1 website calls it "a capacity to produce new updates at the closing races with seemingly perfect correlation between CFD, wind tunnel, and track". To you and me it simply means that Red Bull now have the fastest car on the grid, and Sebastian Vettel is pretty much home and dry to retain his drivers' championship.

It's worth quoting if you've got even the slightest notion to believe Lewis Hamilton's assessment in an interview this morning of the state of play with four races left. He's thrown in the towel as far as himself or McLaren team mateJenson Button is concerned - but reckons Fernando Alonso is still the man most likely to finish top of the standings when the Brazilian Grand Prix ends its last lap on November 25th.

"I feel like Fernando has deserved it through the year," says Hamilton. "Ferrari haven't made one mistake. Alonso hasn't always been the fastest but he has been up there all the time. He is driving like a champion." Are you sure? If Hamilton hadn't already signed for Mercedes you'd wonder if he was after a seat driving for the prancing horse himself next season!

Much like in football, whoever finishes top at the end of the campaign is the one who deserves the title. And, as the football managers are always telling us: "It's a marathon, not a sprint". Every campaign in every sport gets into what Sir Alex Ferguson calls "squeaky bum time", when we're reminded that starting a season well is one thing, but finishing in style is what winners do.

And it's what Red Bull, very clearly, are doing now. The bit on the F1 website is all about the latest little tweak they made to the rear bodywork of the car to make their "double DRS" system work even better. (In technical terms a new, shorter sidepod profile which gives a different Coanda route for the exhaust gases. No, I didn't understand that either).

Anyway, it did us some good last week if you followed this column's advice to back both Vettel to win in Korea, and Mark Webber for a place on the podium. And it's not too late to take a bit more advantage, whatever Hamilton might be suggesting.

Ok, backing Vettel, who now has a six point lead over Alonso, at [1.39] to win the drivers title is only for those brave souls who aren't afraid of very short odds-on prices. But just as last week it is his team mate Webber who seems to be below the radar. He is now just one point behind Hamilton in the standings, but is even money in the season match bets to finish above the McLaren driver.

I also like Webber at between [2.2] and [3.25] to finish in the championship top three. That's a tougher call with 15 points to make up over Kimi Raikkonen, but the Finn had problems with upgrades to his Lotus in Korea, and his team have a lot of work to do if they are not going to find themselves a long way off the Red Bull pace.

The season started with seven different winners from as many races. But it could just as easily end with Vettel winning seven in a row.

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