Vettel a heavy favourite to win at Austin, say Experts
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has been made a heavy favourite to triumph in the inaugural Austin Grand Prix by the Castrol EGDE Grand Prix Predictor Experts.
The reigning champion enters his 100th grand prix with a mathematical chance of sealing a third straight world championship crown, although much will also depend on Fernando Alonso’s form.
The good news for Vettel is that he is a heavy favourite to win, putting maximum pressure on his Ferrari rival.
Three-time grand prix winner Johnny Herbert, triple WTCC champion Andy Priaulx and AUTOSPORT all see Austin playing into the hands of the German and his Red Bull RB8.
Sportscar ace Darren Turner is the only Expert not to back Vettel for victory, but the German is still high on the list – coming home second behind Lewis Hamilton.
The good news for Alonso is that he is at least tipped to carry the fight to Vettel, with every Expert selecting him to finish third or higher.
He does face a rival in the fight for second however: Lewis Hamilton.
The ex-McLaren team-mates share the same average score across the four Experts’ selections, and while Hamilton has one nomination for fourth, he is also the only man other than Vettel to earn a victory nomination.
Behind the lead trio, Mark Webber edges Jenson Button and Abu Dhabi racewinner Kimi Raikkonen in the race for fourth.
The Australian’s form fluctuates across the Experts, with Herbert picking him second and Turner down in sixth.
Button is at least more consistent, but never climbs higher than fourth in any of the Experts’ forecasts.
Raikkonen likewise counts fifth as his best selection (from Turner and AUTOSPORT), but only comes in seventh according to Herbert.
The fight for the final points-paying positions is typically more frantic, with a host of teams and drivers all earning representation.
Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari is a leading candidate for seventh, but behind him there is far less consensus as Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Nico Rosberg all feature.