After football and tennis defeats, can Hamilton win for Great Britain?
With the crushing defeat of the England football team's hopes in Brazil and the early elimination of Andy Murray from the Wimbledon tennis tournament, Lewis Hamilton now ranks as our best chance for sporting success this summer.
He arrives at Silverstone for this weekend's British Grand Prix as the most successful driver so far this season, with four wins to his team mate's three and the sole victory of Daniel Ricciardo in Canada. Yet Hamilton is further behind in the points standings than he had been at any time this season. So much so that whatever happens on Sunday it will be the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg that heads the drivers' points table.
Just three races ago Hamilton was in that position. But he hasn't won a race in that time, which has largely been down to his inability to get the job done in the all-important qualifying sessions which set the grid on Sunday. He spun twice in Austria, made a costly mistake in Canada, and was down on Rosberg's time in Monaco when his team mate went off, preventing either from improving their time.
A repeat of last year's British Grand Prix would be Hamilton's nightmare scenario. He started from pole position and was leading when a tyre exploded - which ultimately handed victory to Rosberg.
Reliability has also had a major bearing on the competition between the two Mercedes drivers. Hamilton has been quick to point out he has retired twice from races this year due to technical problems, while Rosberg's car has gone the distance every time. If you think his run of finishing races is going to come to an end this weekend, you can get odds of 6.50 on it.
Despite his recent trouble in qualifying, Hamilton is favourite to win pole position at Silverstone - as he has done twice before - with odds of 1.55. Rosberg is on 2.40.
The Williams pair have the next-shortest odds on 15.00, with everyone else on 31.00 or longer. As the two cars from Grove in Oxfordshire locked out the front row of the grid in Austria, it's tempting to consider backing them for another pole position this weekend. However it remains to be seen whether they can replicate the performance they enjoyed on the Red Bull Ring, with its simple layout and few corners, at Silverstone, where medium-to-high speed turns dominate.
Mercedes are obvious favourites to take a one-two finish, as they have done in six of the eight races so far, so in terms of betting on the race there are slightly more rewarding odds to be found on who will take the final podium place. Silverstone should suit the Red Bull drivers better, so Vettel at 3.50 for a top three finish is about the best you'll find here.
Ferrari are another team who should have a better time in Silverstone than they have in recent races. But the competition between their two championship-winning drivers has been very one-sided so far. Fernando Alonso has got to grips with the F14 T far better than Kimi Raikkonen, who is back at Maranello for the first time in five years, with the result that his odds of a podium finish this weekend are far shorter: 3.00 versus 15.00. The odds on Raikkonen beating Alonso this weekend are the longest of any pair of team mates: 4.00. While many expected the 2007 world champion to take a little time to get on Alonso's pace, his progress so far has been slower than anticipated.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic.
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