Barely have the tyres cooled and the pit lane garages been locked up for the winter than bookmakers are already looking ahead to the 2012 Formula One season with Sebastian Vettel a best 11/8 with Betfred, totesport and Victor Chandler to complete a hat-trick of World Drivers’ Championships after running away with the title this year.
The German had the crown in safe keeping with four races to spare in 2011, becoming become the youngest-ever driver to win back-to-back titles, and it appears punters think he will prove a cut above the opposition again next year. Vettel won 11 times during the season and the 24-year-old’s next target will be to surpass Michael Schumacher‘s record of 13 victories in a year. Vettel described his team Red Bull as ‘faultless’ after finishing second to team-mate Mark Webber in the final Grand Prix of the year in Brazil and they are 11/10 to win the Constructors’ Championship next year with Skybet ahead of McLaren (13/8 with William Hill) and Ferrari (6/1 with bet365 and Skybet).
Behind Vettel, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton is a best 5/1 to win his second world title, with Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso available at 6/1 with Skybet and Hamilton‘s team-mate Jenson Button 7/1 in several places. Hamilton‘s problem this season has been inability to steer clear of trouble. Some of his fellow drivers believe the Briton is much too aggressive on the track and lets his heart rule his head on occasion. His long-running feud with Felipe Massa certainly did neither driver any favours. Hamilton now has a few months to cool off and there are signs that McLaren are beginning to close the gap on Red Bull, but whether they’ll do that before the new season gets under way again in the spring is questionable given that F1 made a big effort to make the sport a more level playing field just 12 months ago and it’s unlikely there will be any more radical changes to rules over the winter.