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Michael Taylor 22nd Aug 2009 - 16:42

Expect a McLaren one-two in Valencia

Lewis Hamilton's Formula 1 title defence may have ended months ago but, after claiming pole position at the European Grand Prix, it seems the end of this season is going to see a McLaren procession.

Hamilton was the early pace setter in Valencia, finding himself at the top of the standings at least once in each qualifying session and it came as no surprise when his superb Q3 time was enough to hold off the field.

His team-mate, Heikki Kovalainen, also managed to eek every last ounce of power out of the now extremely impressive McLaren as he claimed his season best front row place on the grid.

Kovalainen, rumoured to be driving for a new contract, was just .03 of a second behind Hamilton in the pole position shootout but it was a performance sure to impress McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

The Fin now looks a great bet to land himself an invaluable podium finish and provide faithful punters with a good payout at a more than healthy 10/11.

And it could easily turn out that a podium is what everyone is playing for if Hamilton's car is as strong as it looked today.

Hamilton, aiming for a second successive grand prix win, looks the bet of the day though at 1/2 to register another ten points.

He's the best driver on the grid and he finally looks like he's got the car to go with his ability. McLaren must just be wondering 'what if...' had they been a bit quicker in their development of KERS.

BrawnGP on the other hand can't wait for the season to end as Jenson Button attempts to fight off the fast approaching Red Bull duo, Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel.

Button, 18.5 points ahead in the Drivers' standings, may have been out qualified by team-mate Rubens Barrichello but fifth on the grid, four places ahead of Webber, is a job well done.

He'll be hoping to land yet another podium but with Barrichello and Vettel to get past he could prove little value at 5/4 (Barrichello at 5/4 looks far more likely).

Vettel , currently third in the standings, still has very real title aspirations and he'll be looking to ensure he can once again chip away at Button's 23 point advantage.

The young German will be desperate for a good start in order to avoid becoming the filling in a Brawn sandwich and if he does get off well then 6/4 for a podium will look massive.

As for Webber, ninth place on the grid simply was not good enough and it looks as though he'll have to settle for small points.

His poor showing has also been reflected in his outright Championship price - drifting from 5/2 out to 9/2.

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