How the Bookies See it
- Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton 6/5, Nico Rosberg 6/5, Sebastian Vettel 6/1 – Boylesports
- Pole Position: Hamilton 11/10, Rosberg 11/10, Vettel 6/1 – William Hill
- Drivers’ Championship: Rosberg 4/7, Hamilton 6/4, Vettel 20/1 – Sky Bet
- Rosberg has won all four races in 2016. Hamilton has had three podium finishes, most recently finishing second in Russia ahead of third-placed Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had to retire on the first lap.
- Rosberg also triumphed in the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Hamilton and Vettel in third. Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen have all previously won in Spain.
The fact that the bookies cannot split Hamilton and Rosberg, even though the latter’s superior start to the season is very telling. Hamilton is still a class act who has been affected by his engine breaking down twice in four rounds, leaving Mercedes team-mate Rosberg to take advantage and storm to successive victories.
Mercedes have been working round the clock to iron out any mechanical issues with Hamilton’s car and he can be expected to come back strongly, otherwise his grip on the title will start to loosen very quickly in the coming weeks. Rosberg has dismissed suggestions that his substantial early lead in the Drivers’ Championship presents him with an opportunity of a lifetime, but he is likely to be feeling a mixture of pressure and confidence.
Elsewhere, all eyes will be on 18-year-old Max Verstappen in his first race since replacing Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull. There is no doubting the Dutchman’s potential and he will relish working with Red Bull, but fans should not demand too much from him just yet and Vettel remains a far more likely contender to break up Mercedes’ domination. Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg could also be dark horses to pick up some big points as Force India continue to make giant strides.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Lewis Hamilton to win the Drivers’ Championship – 6/4 at Sky Bet