BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
Firstly, apologies for the late post – the short week caught me out!
Last week in Malaysia, we saw a very predictable, uneventful Sunday stroll for the two Mercedes cars. Lewis Hamilton captured the 2nd win of the season and Rosberg hammered home the team’s advantage by coasting clear in 2nd. Behind the ever shortening favourites, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull showed they are closer than they’ve been for a long time and perhaps we can expect a genuine challenge soon. It is tough to see how Mercedes are going to get beat right now though and we may be waiting a while for this to happen.
On to this week and we have a night race in Bahrain that marks Jenson Button’s 250th Grand Prix start. Bahrain places a heavy emphasis on technical driving skill with many tight corners and it is therefore no surprise to know that Fernando Alonso is the most celebrated driver at this track with three wins. Behind him are Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel with two each. Drivers must take care of their tyres and fuel consumption at this track more than most and we may see a very good race behind the Mercedes cars. If there was a close battle, I wouldn’t be anywhere near Lewis Hamilton. In a situation where he must be aware of every little thing in his car he may be prone to mistakes but I doubt he will be flat out and he will just need to get the car around for a 2nd at worst. That being said, can we find a betting angle?
Unforunately, Vettel finishing 3rd means his odds have again shortened and he is widely available around the 8/1 mark to be first past the line. Ladbrokes are this week offering a “Without Mercedes” market and this could be where we eventually end up playing. Vettel is 9/4 here. The aforementioned Alonso is 7/2 in this market and given both his and Ferrari’s record here, this could look very big. In my mind, he is the biggest challenger to the two Mercedes. The Spaniard is the best driver in the field and this course will highlight the fact. Ferrari haven’t been firing on all cylinders but they haven’t been bad so both he and Raikkonen are ones to keep an eye on come Sunday.
Of the rest, we have the Williams who look to have a genuinely fast car as long as it doesn’t rain. The way in which the car deteriorated on Saturday last week during the storms showed that Massa and Bottas are going to be very weather dependent. With good weather forecast this week, there could be a chance to target these two. The Mclarens are just a level below I think and I do not see Jenson writing the perfect script on his anniversary. K-Mag should be somewhere in that top 10 and they will, more than likely, be happy with a double points finish.
I think we can take a chance on Sebastian Vettel not reproducing last week’s form (although I think when the Spanish grand prix comes around, it will be time to get stuck in!) and we will predict that Ricciardo will find a few too good on Sunday. That leaves Ferrari, Williams and Mclaren. My plays this week are going to be Alonso w/o Mercedes (7/2) and Massa podium (5/1). We’ve had two down weeks and hopefully this can kick start the season properly!
For those interested, Hamilton is 11/10 and Rosberg is 9/4 to win the race. I would not be one to talk you out of either of these two if you want to bet them. Hamilton certainly made a mockery of the 7/4 on offer after about 6 laps last week and that could quite conceivably happen again. The dual forecast is being offered at 10/11 with WilliamHill and again may look a silly price at the end. None of these excite me but it might not pay to continually ignore the obvious!
Fernando Alonso 7/2 Without Mercedes – 1 point
Felipe Massa 5/1 Podium – 1 point