How the Bookies See It
- Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton 6/5, Nico Rosberg 6/5, Daniel Ricciardo 7/1 – Paddy Power
- Favourite v The Field: Lewis Hamilton 5/4, The Field 8/13 – William Hill
- Double Podium Finish: Mercedes 4/6, Red Bull 5/2, Ferrari 14/1 – SkyBet
- Lewis Hamilton was the early favourite to win the Malaysian Grand Prix, and he went some way to justifying those odds by managing to secure pole position for the race. He also succeeded in maintaining that position until the 41st lap, when his engine blew and he was forced to retire. That crushing result meant that the British driver didn’t earn any points, so he remains on 265 points for the season, and is in second place for the 2016 Drivers’ Championship.
- Nico Rosberg was second on the grid in Malaysia, but had a terrible start to the race and spun his car out when Sebastian Vettel collided with Max Verstappen. Rosberg then had to claw his way back from 21st place, and it is a testament to his ability that he finished in third place, securing a podium finish and adding 15 points to his total. The German remains first in the table for the Drivers’ Championship, and is now on 288 points, which is 23 points more than his Mercedes team mate, Lewis Hamilton.
- Daniel Ricciardo started the Malaysian Grand Prix in fourth place and managed to avoid the first bend collision to get into second place behind Hamilton. He remained at the front of the pack throughout the race, and was in a perfect position to take over the lead when Hamilton’s engine blew. Ricciardo went on to win, with his Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen taking second place. The Australian is now third in the Drivers’ Championship table, with 204 points.
All other things being equal, Lewis Hamilton was the most likely winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix, and he did everything right to earn the highest place on the podium, so the fact that he had to retire through mechanical failure shouldn’t be viewed as any fault on his part. He will obviously be frustrated that the opportunity to regain his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship table was lost in Malaysia, but that will make him even more determined to get something out of the upcoming race in Japan.
Nico Rosberg did very well to recover from his early spin to reach the podium, and that brave effort enabled him to extend his lead for the Drivers’ Championship. The German is clearly in good form of late, and we expect him to reach the podium again on Sunday. We aren’t so sure about Ricciardo, however. The Australian’s success in Malaysia was very well deserved, but it was only achieved with Vettel and Hamilton out of the race, so unless things take a similarly surprising turn in Japan, we wouldn’t expect his chances of winning to be greater than those of the Mercedes drivers.
With all of that said, we will overlook the shock result in Malaysia and select Lewis Hamilton to win this Sunday’s Grand Prix race in Japan.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Lewis Hamilton to win the Japanese Grand Prix at 6/5 – Paddy Power
*Please note, odds may change as the race approaches.