BRAZIL GRAND PRIX: The Autódromo José Carlos Pace welcomes the newly crowned Drivers’ World Champion Lewis Hamilton to Brazil, and it’s hard to look past the Brit once again.
Hamilton has won nine races this season, he cruised to victory here in the wet last year, and is most definitely a confidence driver. He also happens to have won six of the last eight races and in the process saw off what was looking like a fulsome championship challenge from Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari.
All of the above being said, Hamilton (2.35 for the win) will have to fight off plenty of suitors for that top step of the podium. Red Bull have arguably had the better car on Sunday since the Singapore Grand Prix in September, Max Verstappen (4.6) has won two of the last four races and somehow seems to be getting better each weekend. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo (24) is considerably longer, there is good reason for this. Ricciardo has suffered considerable bad luck in the second half of the season, a reversal of the early season dynamic that saw Verstappen fail to finish 50 per cent of the first fourteen races. As a consequence of his latest engine failure in Mexico, he may accrue grid penalties if he requires new parts for this weekend – avoid backing him until confirmation of this situation. Thereafter though, he’ll be good value.
The question is, where are Ferrari in all of this? Without a win since the mid-summer break, the scarlet Scuderia have conspired to crash into each other, suffer two consecutive engine failures, and in the ultimate moment of importance, Vettel crashed into Hamilton and with it their chance at 2017 Championship glory evaporated. However, their car is very fast, and very adaptable. Vettel stormed to pole position in Mexico, and a repeat performance in Brazil, a track notoriously difficult to pass at, will see the German shorten dramatically from his rather generous price of 5.0. Kimi Raikkonen, in the sister Ferrari will be released from ‘team duties’ as there no need to help Vettel anymore, his form has been patchy, this track is not his strongest, at 24.0 on our exchange he’s the longest of realistic race winners. Hold off on Raikkonen until the final race of the season, the Finn loves Abu Dhabi.
Qualify and Outright
In the last four years the Brazilian Grand Prix has been won by the pole sitter. In recent races we’ve seen a bona-fide three-way battle in qualifying involving Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, and Lewis Hamilton. The addition of Verstappen (pictured) to the narrative has opened up markets such as these to great effect, add over a 50 per cent chance of rain for Saturday and we could be in for quite the treat. Max Verstappen lit up last years’ race in wet weather. The Dutchman, teenager at the time, danced around Interlagos with style and passed cars for fun. Pit him against Hamilton in wet weather over one lap and fireworks should ensue. What will also ensue is the dramatic shortening of Vertstappen’s odds. If he puts his car on the front row, he’s available at 6’s for pole position on our exchange, his outright price of 4.9 will drop and offer excellent opportunity to lay out before the race on the Sunday.
Same goes for Vettel. The Ferrari driver has scored three pole positions this year (4’s to win qualifying), and notched 4 impressive wins before a complete collapse of reliability and good dose of bad luck. His outright price of 4.3 really is great value. Back him now, watch his lay price tumble from 6.2 and take him at your leisure for under the 4.3 that you backed him. A winning bet we think.
Another winning bet is to take it all out on Hamilton and back him for the win. The numbers, the car, the driver, it all adds up. He will have to see off a stern challenge from both Red Bull and Ferrari, particularly on Saturday, simply put, we can’t advise against backing this years’ World Champion.
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