Venue: Sepang International Circuit
Lewis Hamilton took a huge step towards becoming the first British driver to win four Formula 1 championship titles in Singapore and is hard to oppose in our Malaysian Grand Prix betting tips.
Mercedes had viewed the Marina Bay Street Circuit race as an exercise in damage limitation, with Ferrari having been favoured by similar tracks all year.
However, a three-way pile-up on the opening lap involving Sebastian Vettel, team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen handed the initiative to Hamilton – and he duly seized it with both hands.
“I’m loving driving more than ever,” said the 32-year-old. “I feel like I am driving better than ever, and I feel the most whole as a driver that I have ever been, which is a great feeling.
“Who knows if we are going to get anywhere near Michael Schumacher’s record of seven championships? I don’t have a desire to chase that, but records are there to be broken.”
Hamilton will take a 28-point lead to Kuala Lumpur and can justify being Evens favourite by securing a fourth straight race victory and his eighth triumph of the season.
How the Singapore Grand Prix finished:
1 Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 Ricciardo (Red Bull), 3 Bottas (Mercedes), 4 Sainz (Toro Rosso), 5 Perez (Force India), 6 Palmer (Renault), 7 Vandoorne (McLaren), 8 Stroll (Williams), 9 Grosjean (Haas), 10 Ocon (Force India), 11 Massa (Williams), 12 Wehrlein (Sauber), DNF Magnussen (Haas), Hulkenberg (Renault), Ericsson (Sauber), Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Alonso (McLaren), Vettel (Ferrari), Verstappen (Red Bull), Raikkonen (Ferrari)
With Hamilton now 3/20 for title glory and Vettel out to 4/1, Mercedes know that they need only to maintain their focus, with possibly just Abu Dhabi favouring Ferrari from the remaining six contests.
“We must not drop the ball,” Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Wolff declared. “We just need to continue and get on with the job. There’s lots of time for cheering when we’ve actually won the title.
“Championship-wise, it’s a big step forward. You can kind of feel for Ferrari. I’ve been in the situation of losing both cars, and you can relate to how awful that feels for them. But I guess we’re not here to take prisoners.”
Ferrari principal Maurizio Arrivabene vowed his team will be “fighting right to the final corner of the very last grand prix of the year”, but the feeling is that Vettel blew his big chance to exert some pressure in Singapore.
Red Bull continue to progress, though, with Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo both going well in qualifying in Singapore and then the latter claiming second place in the race.
Having enjoyed a one-two at Sepang 12 months ago, 14/1 for each driver is sure to attract some interest this term.
“We have to take the positives from the weekend,” insisted Verstappen. “We were quick in qualifying and the practice sessions, with good potential going into the race; we can hold onto this and move on to the next event.”
Past Malaysian Grand Prix results:
2016 Ricciardo (Red Bull), Verstappen (Red Bull), Rosberg (Mercedes)
2015 Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes)
2014 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes), Vettel (Red Bull)
2013 Vettel (Red Bull), Webber (Red Bull), Hamilton (Mercedes)
2012 Alonso (Ferrari), Perez (Sauber), Hamilton (McLaren)
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