How the Bookies See It
- Chinese Grand Prix Winner: Lewis Hamilton 11/8, Sebastian Vettel 6/4, Valtteri Bottas 6/1, Kimi Raikkonen 8/1 – William Hill
- Team of Winning Driver: Mercedes 8/11, Ferrari 1/1, Red Bull 10/1 – Paddy Power
- 2017 Drivers’ Championship: Lewis Hamilton 1/1, Sebastian Vettel 11/8, Valtteri Bottas 8/1 – SkyBet
- Lewis Hamilton started the Australian Grand Prix in pole position, but made a pit stop in the 17th lap to change his tyres and ended up sitting behind Max Verstappen, which allowed Sebastian Vettel to open up a good lead at the front. Although Vettel made a pit stop six laps after Hamilton, the British driver couldn’t make up the lost time, and Hamilton finished the race in second place, some 9.97 seconds behind Vettel. That puts Hamilton on 18 points and in second place for the 2017 Drivers’ Championship.
- Sebastian Vettel’s win of the Australian Grand Prix got his 2017 season off to the best possible start. Some commentators have been splitting hairs about whether the German won the race or had it handed to him by Hamilton’s decision to pit early, but the fact remains that he took the maximum of 25 points and now leads the table for the Driver’s Championship. Ferrari have won four times in the Chinese Grand Prix, which is just as many as Mercedes, so Vettel will no doubt be encouraged by his success in Australia and be aiming to pull his team ahead again this weekend.
- Valtteri Bottas started the Australian Grand Prix in third place, and ended it the same way, earning 15 points for the Drivers’ Championship. He put in a solid performance for his new team, Mercedes, and finished 11.25 seconds behind the winner and less than two seconds behind his teammate, Hamilton. That result will have been a valuable confidence-booster for Bottas, and puts him in a good position to try and outshine Hamilton in future races.
- Kimi Raikkonen also ended the first Grand Prix of the season in the same position as he had on the grid at the start, finishing in fourth place. He was 22.39 seconds behind the winner when he crossed the line, and picked up 12 points to sit fourth in the Drivers’ Championship table.
Whilst Sebastian Vettel’s win in Australia was well deserved, Lewis Hamilton’s decision to pit early was definitely a factor which contributed to it. Whether or not it was a strategic error on Hamilton’s part is hard to say, because we don’t know how he would have fared if he had left the tyre change until later, but we think that he will have examined that decision a number of times since his second-place podium finish and will be keen to assert his dominance in China. As for Vettel, we think that he will need Hamilton to slip up to win again in China, and we don’t expect Hamilton to do that.
We were impressed with the performance of Valtteri Bottas, and believe that he will be quick to pick up the slack for Mercedes should Hamilton run into difficulties in China. We will therefore bet on the Chinese Grand Prix being won by the Mercedes team so that we have both Hamilton and Bottas on our side this Sunday.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Mercedes to win the Chinese Grand Prix – 8/11 at Paddy Power
*Please note, odds may change as the race approaches.