MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Indian GP

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Ahead of the race today in India, the writing team on MotorSportsTalk has made its predictions for what looks set to be the scene of Sebastian Vettel’s coronation as a four time world champion. Should he finish fifth or higher and secure the title, Vettel will join some prestigious company: only Alain Prost, Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher have won four world titles. It may be the final Indian Grand Prix until 2015, but the race is poised to cement itself a place in history today.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Let’s see… chance for six straight wins, fourth title and a shot to three-peat leading every lap from pole in India. Again it’s a case of pick him until he gets dethroned.

Surprising finish: Jenson Button. A podium and another top-five on his Indian scorecard thus far. “Surprise” in this instance would be a top-five but I feel it’s possible for him this weekend.

Most to prove: Paul di Resta. He’s gone scoreless seven races in a row with a car that has clearly fallen off the second half of the year. F1 career in jeopardy and at his team’s home race, time to stave off the naysayers and put together a memorable weekend.

Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. A third (final?) victory in India will have Vettel claim his fourth consecutive World Championship with a flourish. Love him or hate him, you better darn well respect him.

Surprising finish: Esteban Gutierrez. Suzuka had to be a confidence booster for Gutierrez as he finally made a contribution to Sauber’s recent surge (and, at six points, a weighty one). The question now is can he keep it going at Buddh? I’m going to say yes.

Most to prove: Force India. If this is the last Indian Grand Prix for a while, then the home team at least has a chance to leave their fans with some fond memories. But with only three points between Adrian Sutil (all his) and Paul di Resta in the last seven races, they’ll have to step it up.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Just as he was in Japan, his fine run of form combined with his affinity for the circuit should see him take to the top step of the podium once again and clinch a fourth world title.

Surprising finish: Jenson Button. McLaren have been running well here in India, so Button may be able to take advantage of his alternative strategy to work his way up the order and pick up some solid points.

Most to prove: Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian driver needs a good result here to prove to Red Bull that they made the right decision to hire him, and a stand-out result in his final four races for Toro Rosso would go a long way to doing this.

Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Yes, he might be conservatively-minded as he was when the title beckoned in Japan two years ago. But with a half-second advantage even over his team mate he can afford to drive with his fingertips and still thrash his competitors.

Surprising finish: Nico Hulkenberg. The Sauber looks very good on the medium tyres – he could be an outside bet for a podium finish.

Most to prove: Romain Grosjean. He’s come on in leaps and bounds in recent races with excellent qualifying performances which have allowed him to stay out of trouble and race at the front. From 17th on the grid he has to show he can keep a cool head and make his way up through the field.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)