Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel look to have the season championships wrapped up, but will local knowledge help Ferrari in the Italian Grand Prix?
Victory in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa left Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel a huge 46 points clear at the top of the driver’s championship, whilst the team are an almost unassailable 77 points ahead in the constructors’ race. At best prices of 1/7 with Coral and 1/16 with Ladbrokes to win those titles, there’s almost no value in backing either win there.
Second place in the driver’s championship is occupied by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. That might be surprising news to some people, because Alonso and Ferrari have not had a great season so far and the attention has very definitely been on other big names, such as Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. The Spaniard’s stealthy campaign, though, has benefits for sports betting fans, because un-noticed participants always trade at better prices that those who bask in the glare of publicity.
Not that Alonso hasn’t had his moments, of course. It is hard to fly completely below the radar when you’re a former world champion. But the fact is that, this year, his triumphs have to some extent been masked both by bigger news elsewhere and by the travails of his underperforming teammate Felipe Massa.
For the first time this season Ferrari have admitted that Massa’s season has been a disappointment and that he needs to do better. There remains the strong possibility that the Brazilian’s time in the famous red car will come to an end when the season finishes.
The one place where Ferrari always make an extra special effort, though, is Monza. The Italian Grand Prix is, understandably, the centrepiece of their year and the team will be desperate for both drivers to do well there. Moreover, no team knows Monza as well as Ferrari does and that will give them an advantage over the other teams purely in terms of setting their cars up correctly.
It would be a major surprise if things do not go well here. Alonso is an almost universal 7/2 betting odds to win the race, second only to perennial favourite Vettel in the market. Massa, having been given the public kick up the backside that his season probably needed, is 8/1 with 888.com to finish on the podium, although the 13/8 that Paddy Power offer on a top six finish is probably a safer racing pick here.
Ferrari’s public rebuke of Massa creates another interesting scenario for the rest of the season. Now that Red Bull have gone public with the open secret that Daniel Ricciardo will be their second driver next season, the only possible openings for a driver move, at least among the competitive cars, are either replacing Ricciardo at Torro Rosso or, alternatively, a chance to replace Massa at Ferrari. For the rest of the season, therefore, the race is not just going to be to the chequered flag, but to finish ahead of Massa, too.
Finishing ahead of Massa is not exactly difficult at the moment, but look for that to be extra incentive for the likes of Kimi Raikkonen (who isn’t making much secret of his desire to leave Lotus at the end of the season) but also some of the younger drivers such as Paul di Resta and Valteri Bottas. Raikkonen is definitely worth backing for a podium place here at 2/1 with Paddy Power, and you should certainly consider di Resta’s top six chances, especially with Bet365 offering 5/1.
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