The Formula One road show briefly leaves Europe and travels to Canada for this Sunday’s race. The last race in Monaco produced a surprise winner, but also allowed Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull to open up clear leads at the top of the Drivers and Constructors Championships.
After the glitz and glamour of Monaco, Formula One comes back down to earth with a trip across the Atlantic to Canada and the Gille Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal. It is one of the longest-standing Grand Prix venues, having hosted every Canadian race since 1978 and poses an intriguing puzzle of long straights and tight bends for the drivers to negotiate.
Nico Rosberg’s surprise win in Monaco, coupled with the comparatively poor showing of Kimi Raikkonen, has left Sebastian Vettel 21 points clear of the Finn at the top of the Drivers’ Championship, whilst his Red Bull team sit atop the Constructors’ Championship with a 41 point lead over nearest rivals Ferrari.
Whilst this makes Vettel and Red Bull short odds to win those titles overall, there are two things to bear in mind before backing them. The first is that the points gaps are not so huge that they could not be overhauled should Vettel finish outside of the points in Canada. The second is that neither Vettel or Red Bull as a team have ever won this race. Indeed, the form man here is Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who has won three out of the last five races, whilst McLaren have won four of those five.
Hamilton is currently priced at 5/1 with BetVictor to win this race and even a fortnight ago you would’ve shied away from those betting odds because of the massive tyre wear issues that Mercedes were having. However, Rosberg’s win in Monaco suggested that the team might be overcoming those problems at last, whilst all of the teams in Montreal will be on new, supposedly longer-lasting, tyre compounds for this race anyway. Those things should even the difference out and on that basis Hamilton looks a good bet indeed.
Canada is never a race without incident. There is the famous ‘Wall of Champions’, so named because of the sheer number of champions (Vettel included) who have driven into it over the years. In 2011 it saw the longest race in Formula One history after a protracted rain stoppage, and in 2008 Anthony Davidson was forced out of third place after hitting a groundhog on the track. This makes a bet on whether or not there will be a deployment of the safety car a better one than usual, with SkyBet offering 8/15 on it being needed.
Betting on the first driver to retire from any grand prix is always worth considering; simply because the odds are almost generous and give you space to spread your stake money over several options. Pastor Maldonado is currently favorite in this market at 12/1 through most sportsbooks and it is certainly the case that he hasn’t had a good season (and he’s another to have hit the Wall of Champions in the past, too) but there are other options that might be even better value for our sports picks. Neither of the drivers who finished on podium with Hamilton last year have been in good form. Sergio Perez came third in that race but has struggles in the uncompetitive McLaren in 2013. He is known to be under pressure there and at 25/1 with Bet365 is a very good long shot. The best of all, though, may be the man who came second, Romain Grosjean. He had had a very quiet season by his standards, with no spectacular performances but no spectacular crashes either. And then came Monaco, where running well in early practice seemed to go to his head completely and turned him into a petrol-driven wrecking ball on the circuit. At 14/1 with William Hill he looks to be the best bet in this market.