Formula One news has been dominated by departures from the grid ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, firstly through Felipe Massa’s impending retirement at the age of 35, then former world champion Jenson Button announcing he won’t race next season despite signing a new two-year contract with McLaren.
The collective round of applause for Button in particular, who will remain as a reserve and ambassador at the British outfit, might gloss over what’s likely to be an entirely one-sided affair on the track.
Having got away with third at the Belgian Grand Prix from the back of the grid, defending drivers’ champions Lewis Hamilton equalled Ayrton Senna’s record of five pole positions at Monza, doing so by more than a second ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg.
Anything can happen in F1, so it has been possible to back the Stevenage native at around the 4/7 mark from pole at times this season, but such is Hamilton’s current form and dominance at this track that bwin’s 3/10 is the best price on offer about him anywhere.
It’s easy to see why, with the three-time world champ proving his early-season blips were bad luck by winning four on the bounce prior to Spa-Francorchamps, where Hamilton making the podium was priced up at 2/1 after Saturday’s qualifying session.
Another win here would make it three on the bounce at Monza and four Italian GP triumphs in the past five years, with this one of just four races he landed for McLaren during the 2012 campaign.
The only hope of stretching profits appears to be through finding the third place finisher – Rosberg has very little form here, with second in 2014 his best finish to date by some distance, but the betting says Mercedes are in a different league to the rest of the grid.
After 12/4 Rosberg, it’s all the way back to Sebastian Vettel at 14/1, but the Ferrari man may hold the key to punting joy.
Vettel has two wins and a second to his name at Monza over the last five tries, and won his first Italian GP with Toro Rosso in 2008 when finishing eighth in the championship overall.
At a top-price 1/2 with bwin, Vettel making the podium looks the best wager on offer.