Chinese Grand Prix Predictions & Betting Odds – April 15, 201813th April 2018 / Julian
It’s only the third race of the Grand Prix tour and already we’ve witnessed some incredible action in what is shaping up to be a great year for the sport.
For one thing Lewis Hamilton is not having it all his own way, with Sebastian Vettel clinching victory in both Australia and Bahrain. In Australia, the German took the lead in the 20th lap thanks to pitting under the virtual safety car. Had the Mercedes team informed Hamilton that he needed to push his car harder at that point perhaps Vettel would have failed to move into first place. They didn’t, and Vettel did. It was a loss which was totally avoidable. Come the end of the season, these little moments can become meaningless or crucial. Which is as yet unclear.
In Bahrain, meanwhile, Hamilton was well off the pace thanks to a gearbox replacement which cost him 5 places in the starting line-up. In the end the battle for first was between Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel. Despite Vettel driving the last ten laps with worn tyres, he managed to hold on for victory. That gives Vettel 2 out of 2 and aiming to complete the hat-trick. Hamilton will have plenty on his mind as he strives to claim a 5th World Championship.
Shanghai International Circuit
The Shanghai International Circuit has been a regular in the Formula 1 calendar since 2004 and was the most expensive course on the circuit when first adopted.
The course is filled with very challenging turns, most notably turns 1 and 2 which make a 270 degree right-handed turn combination. It requires a lot of speed right off the start and tightens towards the end. Turns 5 and 6 are also high speed turns, with 6 being another tight turn. The ‘S’ shape turn of 7 and 8 also offer high speed manoeuvres, making this one course which gives drivers plenty of quick steering.
Overtaking is challenging in China but not impossible.The course is what is known as a front-limited circuit, meaning the car has to work well with its front tyres. If it doesn’t the course becomes next to impossible as the car understeers. It’s a layout which demands drivers quick with the throttle and power. The long straight between turn 13 and 14 allows drivers to get up some serious speed.
Weather on the Saturday qualifying is reported to be rain, with temperatures at a high of 18 degrees C. On the Sunday race day itself, the weather should be a bit drier – sunny but cloudy with temperatures of 16 degrees C.
Hamilton will be holding crunch talks with his Mercedes teammates this week as he looks to get his title defence back on track. Vettel already holds a 17-point advantage over the Brit, and Hamilton will want to narrow the gap. Radio problems, a failed gearbox and a mathematical mix-up have all conspired to deny Hamilton so far. He’s driving well, however, and Coral have him priced at 10/11 to finish first here. With 5 wins in China already, this is one course the Brit loves.
The German has had a great start to his Grand Prix season with two wins out of two. It certainly has put down a marker for Hamilton to chase. Vettel, for his part, will wish to continue in the same vein as he has begun. Last year the best Vettel could manage was second position, six seconds behind Hamilton. This year he may well feel like it is his turn. Vettel has only won once at this course before, back in 2009. To win in 2018, he is priced at 9/4.
He came close in Bahrain but simply couldn’t pass Vettel, who clung on heroically. Technically the Mercedes is the faster car but only in clean air. Races aren’t fought in optimal conditions and Ferrari seem to have found the way to keep Bottas (and Hamilton) at bay. In any case the Finn will fancy another shot at Vettel in China. He is priced at 15/2 to take the race.
There is absolutely no doubt that Verstappen is an excellent driver, although a little impetuous at times. His collision with Hamilton in Bahrain cost him a finish and some serious respect from the world champion. Hamilton went as far as to say Verstappen showed a lack of respect, although a lack of sense would be more apt. There is a champion driver in there somewhere though, if he can just reign in his more impulsive moments. Coral have him at 17/2 to win the race.
Other drivers: Daniel Ricciardo 9/1, Kimi Raikkonen 14/1, Kevin Magnussen 250/1.
Hamilton to win: In this kind of form Vettel seems the obvious choice, but Hamilton really loves this course. If Mercedes can fit a gearbox that works, get their maths right and find a functioning radio, Hamilton should take this one to narrow the gap.
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* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!
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