Sunday, the eyes of the Formula 1 world will focus on the 5.451 km Shanghai International Circuit, the home of the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix. It is the third race of the Formula 1 season and there seems to be a wide open field.
So who has the best chance of winning this week in Shanghai?
The odds makers feel that the Chinese Grand Prix will be won by current point’s leader Sebastian Vettel, who is part of team Red Bull Racing-Renault. He is a heavy favorite for Sunday’s race in Shanghai despite the ongoing soap opera that continues to play out at Team Red Bull.
The saga between Vettel and one of his teammates, Australian driver Mark Webber, continues brew after the controversial ending two weeks ago at the Malaysian Grand Prix. For those who are unaware of the fighting going on at Team Red Bull, Vettel ignored team orders not to overtake Webber and passed his teammate in the final laps of the race. He won the race but drew the ire of both Webber and Team Red Bull officials.
Despite the controversy, he remains the favorite for Sunday’s race in large part because few drivers have the ability to focus on the prize better than Vettel does. It also does not hurt that Vettel has a strong Renault powered machine that seems to be dialed in to win every time it rolls out on the track. Last but not least, he also has a 2009 Chinese Grand Prix win on his resume.
Second on the odds list is Fernando Alonso and his Team Ferrari entry. He was the 2005 winner of Chinese Grand Prix. This season the fiery Spaniard finished second in the opener at the Australian Grand Prix and he did not finish in Malaysia after losing a front wing in a scrape with Webber. Alonso, remains one of the most consistent and competitive drivers in Formula 1, so a win in the Chinese Grand Prix would hardly be an upset or unexpected.
Lotus-Mercedes lead driver Kimi Raikkonen is third on the odds list for this week’s race in Shanghai. Like both Vettel and Alonso he has won the Chinese Grand Prix (2007) and knows the Shanghai International Circuit quite well.
Raikkonen already has a win under his belt in 2013 taking the first contest of the year the Australian Grand Prix. He is second to Vettel in driver’s point’s standings thus far after only two races. There is no reason to doubt that he won’t challenge for a win in Shanghai come Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton and Team Mercedes are forth on the odds makers list to win. He is the only driver in the field to win the Chinese Grand Prix twice in 2008 and 2011. That said it is his first year with the new team and they are still working on gaining a comfort level. Also as of today he is a bit under the weather and according to The Daily Mail Online he is suffering from “What Mercedes suspect is an adverse allergic reaction which left him with an inflamed and weeping eye”.
Despite the eye problems Hamilton is expected to be fine and should be ready for practice runs, qualifying and the race on Sunday.
Lastly, we look at the odds makers’ fifth choice and that is the Team Red Bull – Renault of Mark Webber. Earlier in this story we discussed the soap opera at Red Bull with his teammate Sebastian Vettel. If this were indeed a soap opera and not a Formula 1 race the script would have Webber over taking Vettel on the last lap and winning the Chinese Grand Prix.
Alas, however this is a race and while that would be a storybook ending the odds is against it really happening.