Sebastian Vettel pulled himself back into first place in the Drivers’ Championship race, although the German will know that he faces a battle until the end of the season to beat out Lewis Hamilton.
It has been a to-and-fro contest between Vettel and his rival, which has seen momentum initially favour the 31-year-old, but then quickly shifted the way of the Brit. However, Hamilton’s retirement in Austria has put the German ahead for now, although he is entering a stretch of the season that has not been a strong point for him in recent campaigns.
Vettel made an imperious start to the 2017 season and was in command of the Drivers’ Championship standings after his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix, holding a 25-point advantage over Hamilton. He would then win only one of his next 12 races, allowing the Brit to storm towards the crown with relative ease. The 31-year-old cannot afford the same lapse of form this time around in order to end Mercedes’ stranglehold at the top of the sport. Since Vettel’s last title triumph in 2013, he has been forced to watch his rival win the Championship three times. Another victory would pull Hamilton clear of the German in their contest to be known as the era’s leading driver.
The 31-year-old only has a slender lead, and Hamilton remains the leading contender for the Drivers’ Championship crown. Therefore Vettel could be a solid option to take on Betfred’s free bet after betting £10 by signing up through Oddschecker, which could yield dividends if he holds his composure down the stretch. Vettel has managed to deliver against the odds before to achieve the ultimate success. In 2010, he trailed Fernando Alonso and Marc Webber going into the final race of the term. The German put forward a fine performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to win the event and snatch the title away from Alonso.
The second of his crowns was more straightforward as he won the 2011 Drivers’ Championship with ease. However, Vettel endured another battle down the stretch against Alonso in 2012. A run of four-straight wins towards the crux of the campaign handed the German a lead of 13 points over his rival. The Spaniard’s consistency brought him within striking distance at the final race of the term, with Vettel needing a decent finish to fend off his charge. Jenson Button secured the win that denied Alonso the title in Brazil, although the race was controversial after Ferrari alleged that Vettel passed Jean-Eric Vergne on a yellow flag. Their appeal was rejected and the German took the title. Vettel will be aware of the trials and tribulations that he will have to endure in 2018 to capture his fifth Drivers’ Championship.