How the Bookies See It
- Bahrain Grand Prix Winner: Lewis Hamilton 5/6, Sebastian Vettel 2/1, Valtteri Bottas 6/1, Kimi Raikkonen 8/1 – Paddy Power
- Winning Car: Mercedes 1/2, Ferrari 13/8, Red Bull 12/1 – Bet365
- 2017 Drivers’ Championship: Lewis Hamilton 4/6, Sebastian Vettel 7/4, Valtteri Bottas 20/1 – William Hill
- Lewis Hamilton’s win in the Chinese Grand Prix last Sunday was his first of 2017, and it followed a second place finish in the Australian Grand Prix in March. His performance in Shanghai was superb, and the Brit, who began the race in pole position, led from start to finish to earn first place on the podium and the maximum of 25 points. That gives Hamilton 43 points in total, which equals Vettel’s current tally, and the Mercedes driver later said that he was excited by the prospect of fighting a close battle with his Ferrari counterpart throughout the rest of the season.
- Sebastian Vettel’s position as the current co-leader of the Drivers’ Championship table has been achieved by him winning the first race of the season and finishing in second place in the Chinese Grand Prix, which is exactly where he was positioned on the grid at the outset. Vettel was just 6.25 seconds behind Hamilton when he finished the race, and the German was poised to take advantage of any opportunity to get into the lead. Unfortunately for him, that opportunity didn’t arise, but Vettel will no doubt be pleased with his performance because he did little wrong throughout.
- Valtteri Bottas is another driver who finished in the same position as he started in China, and in his case it was in sixth – a result which earned him eight points and puts him fourth in the Drivers’ Championship table with a total of 23 points. Bottas span behind the safety car in the sixth lap, and quickly went from fifth to 12th place, so the fact that he recovered to finish in sixth place was something of an achievement. Of course, Bottas will be keen to avoid making a similar error in future, and he had told his team that he will make up for ‘the amateur mistake’ in future races.
- Kimi Raikkonen started in fifth place on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix and ended up finishing in fifth too, adding 10 points to his Championship tally and putting him fifth in the table with a total of 22 points. Raikkonen could have had a much better result, and was looking good for a podium finish early on, but Vettel pitted earlier in the wet weather and gained an advantage by doing so. The Finn completed the race just over 48 seconds behind the winner, and less than three seconds behind third-placed Max Verstappen, so a different strategy might well have given Raikkonen a very different result.
As both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have stated, this year’s Drivers’ Championship looks like it could develop into a head-to-head battle between the two. Both have won one race each thus far, and both are as keen to be the one who dominates proceedings from here on in.
Given that Hamilton has started in pole for both the Australian and Chinese events, and that his second-place finish in the former was largely due to a strategic error, we will side with Hamilton to put in a repeat of his Chinese Grand Prix performance in Bahrain this Sunday.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Lewis Hamilton to win the Bahrain Grand Prix – 5/6 at Paddy Power
*Please note, odds may change as the race approaches.