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Who will win the 2012 F1 season?

Who will win the 2012 F1 season?

The Formula One (F1) season is now well underway, with races in Australia and Malaysia now out of the way.

However, F1 fans are no better off when attempting to predict who will win the driver's and constructor's titles.

Sebastien Vettel, who is the current back-to-back champion, was widely expected to retain the crown for a third straight year in the RenaultSport-powered Red Bull car this year.

That said, an erratic start to the season - second in Australia and 11th in a rain-hit Malaysian Grand Prix - means the young German is already playing catch up with some of his biggest rivals.

Britain's Lewis Hamilton has been the leading driver in qualifying so far, earning poles in both Malaysia and Australia, but the rain and costly mistakes have seen him finish no higher than third.

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button set his stall out early on with a win down under, but that hard work was undoing by the rain in the second race of the year.

As such, the Frome flyer sits in third place on 25 points in the driver's standings behind Hamilton on 30 and Alonso on 35.

Most F1 fans are aware though, there is still an awful lot of racing to be seen, meaning only a fool would rule out Red Bull's Mark Webber - currently fourth in the driver's standings - and Vettel, who is sure to compete as the season progresses.

But this year looks set to be more interesting than recent seasons, and with RenaultSport's RS27 engine being used to power the cars from no less than four teams - Red Bull, Lotus, Williams and Caterham - fans could see an unexpected driver have a huge say in where the title ends up.

For instance, former champion Kimi Raikkonen returned to the sport with Lotus this year and has been in the points for both races to far.

The Finn crossed the line in seventh and fifth respectively in Australia and Malaysia and even set the fastest lap last time out.

However, when all is said and done it is the drivers from Red Bull and McLaren that are likely to make the headlines this year and at the risk of ending up with egg on our faces Bristol Street Motors is going to predict the final top five in the driver's championship.

While the McLaren looks to have the edge over the Red Bull in the pace stakes so far, Hamilton's erratic driving style and Button's apparent inconsistency will allow Vettel to take the crown for a third straight year.

Hamilton's early pace is sure to mean a few Grand Prix wins and as such the Brit will finish second ahead of team-mat Button.

Aussie ace Mark Webber will again play second fiddle to Vettel at Red Bull and finish in fourth, with Raikkonen rounding out the top five for Lotus.

In the constructors' championship, consistency is likely to be the key and as such Red Bull will edge McLaren in what will be a decidedly two-horse race.

Do you agree with our prediction?

Posted by Craig Salter
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