The 2011 AUTOSPORT gamble

At the start of every season, the AUTOSPORT team gets off the fence and picks their tips for the drivers' and constructors' championships. Each member predicts the top five drivers, ranking them from first to fifth, and likewise for the top five teams. The first receives five points, second four, and so on down to fifth. Collating the votes results in what AUTOSPORT predicts will be the standings at the end of the season. In eight months time we'll know whether we rule, or if we're just a bunch of fools...

Simon Strang, AUTOSPORT.com editor (SS)

1. Vettel; 2. Alonso; 3. Webber; 4. Schumacher; 5. Hamilton

1. Red Bull; 2. Ferrari; 3. Mercedes; 4. Renault; 5. McLaren

I have a sneaky feeling that Fernando Alonso might actually come out on top this year, but in the end logic prevails and there are just too many factors pointing to Vettel and Red Bull – not least of which is that Sebastian knows how to win titles now. Webber is over last year, but for him being a world champion remains an unknown and all his key rivals now have that knowledge. I still believe Schumacher can bring something to the game while Hamilton and Button will overcome whatever shortcomings exist within the McLaren MP4-26 to play a part this year.

Team-wise Red Bull looks secure in its position as champion, while Ferrari has been ominously efficient in testing. Mercedes turned testing around in the end and, I think, could usurp Renault through the year. McLaren it seems have a lot to do, but if any team can achieve time recovery miracles it's that one. Question remains why it should have to?

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