How the Bookies See It
- Spanish Grand Prix Winner: Lewis Hamilton 6/4, Sebastian Vettel 6/4, Valtteri Bottas 4/1 – Sky Bet
- Winning Car: Mercedes 4/6, Ferrari 11/10, Red Bull 8/1 – Bet365
- 2017 Drivers’ Championship: Sebastian Vettel 5/6, Lewis Hamilton 6/4, Valtteri Bottas 8/1 – William Hill
- Lewis Hamilton had a poor Russian Grand Prix, and there is little that can be said to soften that fact. The Mercedes driver started the race in fourth place on the grid, behind Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, and although he had a fairly good start, he found himself boxed in from the early stages. That, along with an overheating engine which made it necessary for him to be careful with his speed, meant that he knew his chance of winning was scuppered by the fifth lap. He therefore had to resign himself to finishing the race in fourth place, which is exactly what happened. Hamilton now stands on 73 points for the Drivers’ Championship, which puts him in second place.
- Sebastian Vettel started the Russian Grand Prix in pole position, with his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen occupying the other front row position in second place. That should have given Ferrari fans plenty of confidence that one of them would win the race, but Valtteri Bottas overtook Raikkonen early, and then managed to secure the lead at Vettel’s expense. A restart saw Bottas maintain his dominance and Vettel ended up finishing the race in second place. The German remains at the top of the 2017 Drivers’ Championship table with 86 points, putting him 13 points clear of next-best Hamilton.
- Valtteri Bottas defied a third-place start on the grid in Russia to win the first Grand Prix race of his career. The Finnish driver did little wrong throughout the event, and handled the restart – which was his first in the lead – very well. By the 20th lap, Bottas had a lead of more than five seconds, and whilst Vettel did his best to keep tabs on the Mercedes driver, he just couldn’t overcome the advantage that Bottas had established. The Mercedes driver finished the day with a well-earned 25 points, which puts him on a total of 63 points for the Drivers’ Championship.
The success of Valtteri Bottas in Russia demonstrated that the 2017 season may not be the Hamilton v Vettel scrap that we previously expected. With Vettel in pole, Raikkonen in second and Hamilton fourth on the grid, a Ferrari win looked to be the most likely outcome. Fortunately for Mercedes, Bottas was able to perform when Hamilton couldn’t, and that first ever Grand Prix victory for Bottas will have given him masses of confidence as the action heads to Spain.
Hamilton has, of course, said that he will seek to redeem himself in Spain, and we have no cause to doubt him, but his form this season hasn’t been very reliable, so we can’t really tip him to win with a high level of confidence. At the same time, Vettel couldn’t win from pole position in Russia even with his main rival suffering from engine trouble, so it is just as difficult for us to side with him.
Given that Hamilton will be as keen to redeem himself as Bottas will be to get another win under his belt as soon as possible, we will tip Mercedes to be the winning team in Spain and hope that one of the drivers will succeed.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Mercedes to have the Winning Car – 4/6 at Bet365
*Please note, odds may change as the race approaches.