Following the summer break, Formula 1 comes roaring back to life this weekend with many of the top teams vying for a chance to subvert the current order.
As it stands, there is only one driver currently doing the business, and that is Sebastian Vettel.
The Red Bull lead driver currently sits atop the Driver’s World Championship leader-board with a generous gap between himself and the rest of the chasing pack.
Coming back from a break in competition can be quite complicated. On the one hand, it will have given teams some time to freshen up their approach, rejig their system and return with a new, improved perspective on how to garner more wins and push their car past its limits.
On the other hand, it takes the incentive off those in form and shakes everything up.
Provided Vettel can emulate the championship-winning form he showed before the break, it’s difficult to see anybody catching up with him now.
The main contenders to the throne at present are Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, and each will be keen to put wheel to the track this weekend as they look to keep the heat on the 26-year-old in the hope it forces him to make silly mistakes that might cost him the odd race.
That is of course, if Raikonnen isn’t distracted by the impending contract talks with Ferrari, and provided Alonso’s car can indeed be improved to better his title chances, as reported by the BBC on Monday.
Realistically, though, this already looks like this year will be his fourth consecutive world title.
However, if there’s one thing that could really scupper his title surge it’s his team-mate Mark Webber. If his form drops over the next few races, he won’t be able to help Vettel by putting pressure on the challenging triumvirate, and with three drivers chasing you down, the pressure is bound to get intense.
So, while Vettel may be a supreme driver in his own right, the rest of the season, and in particular the Belgian Grand Prix, will be an excellent test of how well the two drivers can cooperate under intense scrutiny.
In any case, one gets the feeling that this Championship still has a plethora of twists, turns and exciting thrills left in the tank.
Boylesports are currently offering the following odds on the Drivers Championship:
Sebastian Vettel – 2/9
Fernando Alonso – 9/1
Lewis Hamilton – 9/1
Kimi Raikkonen – 12/1