Alonso a narrow favourite for Abu Dhabi, say Experts
Fernando Alonso has been made a very marginal favourite for victory in this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by the Castrol EDGE Grand Prix Predictor Experts.
The Spaniard is in dire need of a strong result, having dropped 13 points behind title rival Sebastian Vettel following the German’s run of four straight wins.
The Ferrari man remains confident he can seal the title, however, and such optimism seems to have rubbed off.
Three-time grand prix winner Johnny Herbert sportscar ace Darren Turner both tip Alonso to secure a much-needed victory on the Yas Marina circuit.
In contrast Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton gain one nomination apiece, suggesting that, for the first time in five races, Vettel might just be beatable.
While Alonso does earn two victory nominations, the Experts’ choices do not represent unbridled good news.
In both Herbert and Turner’s race forecasts, for example, it is Vettel who finishes just behind Alonso in second.
In the eyes of triple WTCC champion Andy Priaulx meanwhile Vettel will prevail and Alonso will be only fourth, in effect a serious blow to the Spaniard’s hopes.
AUTOSPORT likewise has Vettel finishing ahead of Alonso, although it tips both men to be beaten by Hamilton.
Hamilton also features strongly for Herbert – who puts the Briton third – and Priaulx – second – but fares worse with Turner, who selects him down in fifth.
His McLaren team-mate Jenson Button is seen as a likely podium contender, finishing on the rostrum’s final step according to Priaulx and Turner, fourth according to AUTOSPORT and one spot down the road for Herbert.
Mark Webber meanwhile oscillates between fourth and fifth, earning two nominations in each position.
Outside that top five the positions are, as per usual, more varied and less certain.
Kimi Raikkonen is the most popular bet, featuring in all four selections.
Three of the Experts have him finishing as best of the rest in sixth, while Priaulx puts him one place lower in seventh.
Felipe Massa also fares well, with only AUTOSPORT omitting the Brazilian from its nomination.
Priaulx by contrast has him sixth, while Herbert and Turner are less enthusiastic, putting him eighth and ninth respectively.
Romain Grosjean in the second Lotus is another popular shout, his form varying across seventh to ninth positions
Alongside the Frenchman, Force India pairing Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta, Sauber’s Sergio Perez, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado all gain representation in the fight for the final points-paying positions.