The Formula One season grinds into its third race of the season this weekend with the Russian Grand Prix.
F1 betting fans are heavily siding with lewis Hamilton for this race in Sochi and it’s hard not to see why.
Hamilton certainly has the fastest car this season with is Mercedes, while his record in Sochi is the best of any F1 driver. But as we saw last week the favourite can come unstuck over a Formula One weekend.
So let’s take a look at the best F1 bets and tips for Sochi…
Bet on Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton remains the obvious choice for F1 betting fans when backing a driver to win. He is already 1.90 to win the Russian Grand Prix as punters side with the Brit. Hamilton’s record in Sochi speaks for itself. He has won two of the previous three races on this modern circuit. Last year, the one time he didn’t win, he came second to then-Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton knows this circuit well and poled first on its inaugural run in 2014.
But Hamilton has already exposed a number of weaknesses to his drive this season, having come second to Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari in China last weekend. Hamilton was second on the grid behind his new team-mate Valtteri Bottas two weeks ago and endured a disastrous start to slip way down the order. Poor tyre maintenance and a mistake in the pit lane cos Hamilton more time.
Bet on Hamilton to win the Sochi Grand Prix but don’t stick everything on the three-time world champion. He has a mistake in him, as seen in China, and Vettel is ready to pounce.
Bet on Sebastian Vettel
Vettel is 2.30 to win the Russian Grand Prix and a good bet at that. Mercedes showed last week with their team orders that Bottas is very much their second priority after Hamilton. So Vettel should get a good shot at his Drivers’ Championship rival this weekend.
One problem for Vettel is that he has a mixed record in Sochi. The German finished second in 2015 but the year before was eighth. Last year he retired on the first lap after a crash.
Ferrari are a much-revitalised team this year and have shown they can match the Mercedes for racing guile when required. The Mercedes may be faster in a straight line but Vettel is an expert driver and tactician.
The Russian Grand Prix circuit has an exceptionally long straight, kinked only but a slight right, up for a 90 degrees right-hand turn. That gives whoever is on pole the ‘inside’ on the first two corners — a valuable asset. Whoever starts on pole will hope to cut off their rivals during a semi-circle fourth bend and maintain the lead thereafter.
That fourth bend, especially on the opening lap, could be where we see a crash or two as cars switch across the tarmac at speed.