After Sebastian Vettel’s shock win for Ferrari in Malaysia (tipped up last week here on news.bwin.com) it looks like business as usual has resumed at the Chinese Grand Prix, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton taking his fifth career poll at the Shanghai International Circuit straits.
It was the Stevenage native’s third poll in three races so far this season, but the times, with teammate Nico Rosberg close up in second, suggest Ferrari will take a back seat once again on Sunday.
The first three in posted best times of 1:35.782, 1:35.824, and 1:36.687, putting Vettel nearly a second behind Hamilton, while Scuderia teammate Kimi Raikonen, who split the Mercedes in qualifying last weekend, is back in sixth on the grid with 1:37.232, behind Williams pair Felipe Massa and Valteri Bottas.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat both struggled again, finishing down in seventh and 12th respectively. With the former’s sixth in Australia the best either have managed so far this term, they look out of the running for podium places at present.
That being said, the four-time constructers’ champion’s woes are nothing compared to those of McLaren.
Despite initial optimism of improvement on Friday, neither Jenson Button nor Fernando Alonso, a pair of former world champions lest we forget, made it past Q1, and will start 17th and 18th on the grid, only ahead of bizarre whipping boys Manor Marussia.
With all that in mind, Hamilton winning for the eighth time in ten Grand Prix, with Rosberg finishing in second place, looks the best bet available with bwin at 7/5.
For a side wager, Bottas looks decent for a top-three place at 6/1 considering the pace of the Williams’, with teammate Massa only around a third of a second slower than Vettel and the Finn not far behind.
Bottas nabbed six podium finishes over the last 12 Grand Prix of the 2014 campaign, and posted a respectable fifth place last time out at Sepang, despite qualifying ninth on the grid.
Another bet that looks worth taking a chance on is Max Verstappen to finish in the top six at 11/2, after the 17-year-old valiantly failed to do so when coming home a place further down in Malaysia.
The Toro Rosso youngster is down in 13th after qualifying, but with less time between Verstappen and Ricciardo, in seventh, than first and third on the grid, this race will break up into a few battles.