Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg appear to be uncatchable at the top of the Formula One drivers’ championship, but recent history suggests they’ll struggle to tighten their grip on the campaign at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Marina Bay Street Circuit has 23 corners and little in the way of long straights, diminishing the German manufacturers’ significant power advantage.
Executive director Toto Wolff admitted as much during the week with a dig at Red Bull’s lack of competitiveness at Monza last time out, when Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen finished in fifth and seventh respectively.
Wolff indicated that Red Bull will do ‘extremely well on circuits like Singapore’, without mentioning the Renault-powered outfit specifically, and that proved to be the case in qualifying.
Rosberg took pole for the fourth time in the past five Grand Prix, but Hamilton barely squeezed third place ahead of Verstappen, leaving Ricciardo primed for battle on the front row of the grid.
Less than a second separated pole and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in fifth, leaving bwin’s betting market for Singapore wide open.
At 17/20, Rosberg is the extremely-shaky favourite at a track where he has failed to make the podium in his past seven attempts.
Verstappen looks decent value at double digits considering the perceived strength of Red Bull here, but his in-form Aussie teammate must be worth a wager at a circuit he clearly likes.
Ricciardo came third in Singapore in 2014 and second last year, when Sebastian Vettel pipped the 27-year-old by less than one-and-a-half seconds.
Three podium finishes in his past four races, two of them seconds, suggest both Ricciardo and his car are ticking along nicely, so getting behind Perth’s finest to land a belated first triumph of the campaign makes sense at decent 3/1 odds.