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The Tenner Bet

No prizes for guessing what this week's Tenner Bet is about.

Formula One returns, with the Indian Grand Prix the latest stop for Sebastian Vettel's Flying Circus. The German is on an inexorable course to the 2012 Drivers' Championship after a third successive win in his Red Bull took him screaming past Fernando Alonso in the points table.

Recognition that tomorrow's track at the Buddh International Circuit possesses similar qualities to Japan and South Korea will not sit easily with the Spaniard, and helps explain why Vettel is as skinny as 10/11 to win the race and put one glove on the trophy.

Yet the lack of value about Vettel makes it tempting to look elsewhere for this week's tip. For example, the McLaren arrives in potentially better shape than it has been at any time this season.

Paddy Lowe, the team's technical director, admitted this week that Red Bull's changes had helped to all but seal the constructors' crown but added that he was confident that recent updates to the McLaren would help return either Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button to the top of the podium in the last four races of the season.

"I think [Red Bull] brought their substantial upgrade to Singapore and visibly they had a lot of that race, and that has come across in the last three events," said Lowe earlier this week. "But we have some big stuff we are working on. Whether it will be enough we don't know yet, but it will be spread across India and Abu Dhabi."

We will, of course, find out tomorrow.

the race

This column has been a champion of analysing past form in grands prix. Indeed, as an indicator to future success, it stands up to rigorous scrutiny. Alas, much like the last edition in South Korea, there is little form to go on. Vettel won last year's race – India's first – so he seems a solid investment even if it is only to act as a saver for a more adventurous bet.

The course has four long straights which is sure to make for a fast race but the cornering system is intricate and it's likely that the trio of Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso will battle it out, as usual.

If the McLaren updates improve the car significantly then Button should also come into the reckoning, with Mark Webber and Felipe Massa others to watch.

As ever, qualifying will be crucial and Webber, who has had two successive poles, is worth serious consideration given the similarities between the tracks he has achieved that on and this weekend's one.

the bet

Vettel is the standout pick but represents little value, so I'm going to stick my neck out and take Hamilton to cause an upset. All will depend on how much the McLaren has closed the gap on the Red Bull but certainly it has been a competitive car for most of the season and it would take a major failure for the car not to run the Red Bull close.

Webber to take pole for the third race in a row is the other pick.

SEASON'S TOTAL

The goalrush experiment was let down by Ayr United and Preston North End but there was sufficient evidence to suggest that it shouldn't be given up on. With 10 other teams hitting the target, the statistical analysis might just need a little tweaking.

The total stands at £45.06

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