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Spanish Grand Prix Betting: Back Red Bull - even if they don't sound bullish

Sebastian Vettel celebrates in Bahrain - can he make it three wins in five this weekend?

"Last year there were less than 30 overtakes in the race, less than one every two laps. And on 17 occasions the driver who started on pole has still been in the lead when the chequered flag was waved."

The Grand Prix teams are talking up their technical work after a three week break. Ralph Ellis, on a roll after tipping the winner in the last two races, is intrigued by the one team who have preferred the sound of silence...

We all know the drivers are the stars of the Formula One show, but the Spanish Grand Prix is where the mechanics take over.

The three week break from Bahrain to Barcelona gives the garages the time to take stock of the opening results of the season and work out what to do next. They pore over the data - telemetry to give it its proper name - and bring out all the upgrades. By the time the F1 circus sets up camp again the form from the first four races becomes only a vague guideline.

Certainly all the teams are talking up their technical work this week. McLaren say they will give Jenson Button a "significant" number of updates to the troubled MP4-28 car (and they need to after not finishing higher than fifth so far). Ferrari have revealed they are making changes to the bodywork, floor and wings. Lotus, the surprise package of the early races, are just as bullish about the "continuing development programme for the E21". And Ross Brawn reckons long hours in the Mercedes factory has helped solve the lack of race pace compared to qualifying times so far.

In fact the only people who aren't talking about their upgrades are Red Bull. The official quotes released by the team on behalf of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are more of a travel guide than a race preview, talking about the weather, the hotels, the relaxed atmosphere of the Circuit de Catalunya, in fact about pretty much everything except what work has been done to improve their cars.

Now that can mean one of two things. It could mean they've given themselves a three-week holiday to pat themselves on the back for the way Vettel shot away from Nico Rosberg at the start in Bahrain and cruised to his second victory of the season. Or far more likely it means they think actions will speak louder than words when they put the cars on the track in Barcelona.

The early market for the Spanish Grand Prix race winner, however, seems more entranced by the technical talk. Vettel, despite winning two of four races, is a generous 3.3512/5 for victory. I know that second favourite Fernando Alonso (4.03/1) has a superb record in his home event - he may have won only once in Barcelona be he has been on the podium in seven of the 11 times he's raced there. But I'm intrigued by the secrecy around Red Bull's development work and that makes me suspect it's at least equal to, or probably better, than anybody else.

The other stats worth knowing for Barcelona are that it is a tough track to overtake on. Last year there were less than 30 overtakes in the race, less than one every two laps. And on 17 occasions the driver who started on pole has still been in the lead when the chequered flag was waved. That seems to suggest a flutter on Vettel/Vettel at 4.57/2 in the Qualifying/Winner Double market.

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09 May 2013

Formula One

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