GP Betting: Webber for Monaco win
Webber, who inherits pole at the track where it's most difficult to overtake, must therefore be considered the favourite.
James Frankland selects the best bets for the Monaco Grand Prix, with Webber looking the man most likely to take the prize.
Seldom in this most unpredictable of seasons does a prophecy come true. Just as no-one expected five different cars and drivers to win the opening five races of the season, barely anyone was prepared to venture that Lewis Hamilton would not occupy P1 following the conclusion of Monaco qualifying.
But it was the old stager Michael Schumacher, a five time winner on this circuit, who posted the fastest lap. However, just as in Barcelona two weeks ago, the man on pole position found himself moved back, giving the most precious of starting positions to Mark Webber's Red Bull.
Schumacher earned himself a five-place penalty for smacking into the back of Bruno Senna's Renault and will therefore line up sixth, widening his odds to a massive 19.0. Webber, who inherits pole at the track where it's most difficult to overtake, must therefore be considered the favourite and can be backed at 2.66 to repeat his 2010 pole to flag success.
Twenty-four times the man on pole position in Monaco has stood on the top step of the podium. However, in 2012 while the last three polesitters have taken victory, it has been only after a monumental battle with an adversary attacking on an alternate strategy. This could well be set to continue in Monte Carlo, giving second-placed Nico Rosberg and Hamilton cause for optimism.
Webber's best result this year is fourth and the Aussie has been known to be a touch harder on his tyres so 5.34. for Rosberg and 5.54 for Lewis to win are also worth a look. If push came to shove I would go for Lewis - he is sore at not having won a race so far this year and the Mercedes still has trouble dialling in the Pirelli tyres, which could make Nico vulnerable.
However, given the difficulty of overtaking on this circuit, you can back Webber to maintain his position with Rosberg coming in second at 5.04, which looks like a sound bet. Even if the cars run into tyre trouble, it will take an extremely ambitious move, allied to uncharacteristic acquiescence from the man in front, to permit an overtaking manoeuvre.
Regarding potential podium finishers, I think you can consider the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who has shown extremely good pace at this circuit in practice and qualifying, lining up fourth after Schumacher's demotion. As outlined in my preview earlier in the week, the Frenchman has shown race-winning pedigree here in the lower formulae and while he may not be able to get on the top step this weekend, he's well-placed to capitalise on any errors by the leading trio. Odds of 3.05 is the value for Romain to take home a trophy.
For an outside bet, look at Pastor Maldonado for a top six finish. Yes, he starts 19th and I've already said overtaking is really hard here, but think back to 2010 - Fernando Alonso started 24th and last after a qualifying crash and recovered to finish sixth, proving that if you have a quick car and know the track, it is possible to make progress. At 11.01 it's a long shot, but Pastor is a Monaco specialist and would have finished sixth here last year were it not for Lewis punting him off the track. If sixth seems too long shot, you can back him at 2.061/1 to finish in the points, tenth or better.
A resurgent Felipe Massa is also worth considering for the top six - he starts seventh so only needs to make up one place in order to make it work, back him at 1.81.