With four wins in the last five races Lewis Hamilton has grown his Drivers Championship lead to 40 points with six races of the season to go
Hamilton’s win in Singapore, where Mercedes has often struggled was a big surprise In part due a sensational qualifying lap and in part helped by technical changes to enhance performance in a high downforce configuration. In addition Vettel and Ferrari look like the fastest car but have not delivered consistent results through a run of races.
The Russian Grand Prix next weekend takes place on the relatively new Sochi Autodrome which is part of the Winter Olympics facility. This is the fifth running of the race, and Mercedes have won all four iterations of the race to date. As the fastest car in those races under the current engine regulations this should not be a surprise given the track layout
Firstly there are few overtaking opportunities, so qualifying on pole is a huge advantage. Secondly as it is a new track the asphalt is smooth, and without an abrasive surface the tyres don’t degrade so the combination of track and surface usually leads to one stop races without the ability for teams to try differential strategies.
Of course this time round in race trim Ferrari look marginally the quickest team. Can they finally put it all together for this race?
Prices for the race win point to a close contest. Hamilton 6/5 and Vettel 5/4 are the best prices on offer, and it is 8-1 bar the top two championship protagonists.
Whilst Bottas can’t match Hamilton for pace at most tracks he is usually there to pick up the pieces in the event of misfortune in front of him. He has won the last two Sochi Grand Prix, loves the circuit and at 8-1 each way (two places, one third the odds) with Bet365 is a sporting value bet