Formula 1 has suddenly become exciting again as we approach the second Grand Prix of what promises to be a thrilling season. Mercedes has been so dominant for the past three years that the sport was starting to lose its sparkle, but that appears to have all changed after Sebastien Vettel of Ferrari won the opener in Melbourne.
Formula 1 has suddenly become exciting again as we approach the second Grand Prix of what promises to be a thrilling season. Mercedes has been so dominant for the past three seasons that the sport was starting to lose its sparkle, but that appears to have all changed after Sebastien Vettel of Ferrari won the season opener in Melbourne.
Ferrari was the fastest in pre-season testing and Totto Wolf and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes both declared the Italian team to be the favorite. Many dismissed it as mind games from the champions, but Ferrari delivered on the promise it had shown and confirmed that we finally have a battle on our hands for the Drivers’ Championship and Constructors’ Championship.
Going into the Chinese Grand Prix the betting is closer than it has been in years. Hamilton – who won the Drivers’ Championship in 2014 and 2015 and only lost it by a whisker last year to teammate Nico Rosberg after suffering multiple engine failures – is still the favorite, but it is so close. Englishman Hamilton leads the betting at +137.5 with William Hill, followed by Vettel, who is +150. Next up is Hamilton’s new teammate Valterri Bottas, who replaced the retiring champion Rosberg for the 2017 season and who is +800 to win this race. Then we have Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen at +1100, followed by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo at +2000 and +2500 respectively.
It shows what a huge impact the Melbourne Grand Prix had on the betting lines. Before pre-season testing Red Bull was supposed to be the team that would finally challenge Mercedes’ dominance after it finished second last season. But it has been well and truly usurped by Ferrari. The rule changes requiring cars to be faster, fatter and more aesthetically pleasing have played right into the hands of the Italian team, and it was celebrating a famous win for Vettel in Melbourne. Mercedes showed it is still the team to beat, however, as Hamilton and Bottas finished second and third, ahead of Raikkonen and then Verstappen as Ricciardo did not finish in the points.
It now sees the sportsbooks essentially predicting a two-horsed race for the Constructors’ Championship between Mercedes and Ferrari. Mercedes is -175 favorite, followed by Ferrari at +162.5. But those odds have shifted dramatically after the first Grand Prix, with Ferrari’s odds shrinking and Mercedes drifting out. At those odds Ferrari is the team seeing more action. The books are anticipating another two-horsed race for the Drivers’ Championship. In previous seasons it was simply the two Mercedes drivers, Hamilton and Rosberg, going at it, but now the bookmakers see the fight being between Hamilton (+100) and Vettel (+150). These are the star drivers for each team: it was Vettel that won four Championships in a row at Red Bull before Mercedes grew dominant, so both he and Hamilton have the skill and the pedigree. Bottas is out at +1100 for the championship and Raikonnen is +2000.
And so it looks like being a two-horsed race in China. It might be an idea to back Hamilton at +137.5. He was the fastest in qualifying for Melbourne and claimed poll position, but lost the race due to poor strategic decisions from his team. Mercedes will have gone away, licked its wounds, learned and prepared to reassert its dominance. This will be the perfect opportunity and it is great to see such strong odds on Hamilton. Another option would be to back Bottas each-way, so you get half the odds if he finishes in the top three. At +700 that is a worthwhile bet, and the strong and steady Finn should at least get third in this race.What are your thoughts on Formula 1 Racing, drop a line and share your thoughts in SBR's Forum!