Chinese Grand Prix Betting: No Shanghai Surprise If Mercedes Come Back Fighting

Not long ago the F1 world had seen quite enough of Sebastian Vettel winning everything - particularly when he rounded off his fourth consecutive championship crown at the end of 2013 with nine wins on the trot. But times change, and after a season of Mercedes dominance Vettel's breakthrough win for Ferrari at the second round of this year's championship in Malaysia was widely seen as a breath of fresh air.


Weather to play against Ferrari

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia : News Photo

Hopefully you took last week's tip to pick Vettel up at odds of 25.00, because it's doubtful that price will be bettered any time soon. His odds on victory this weekend have been slashed to 5.50.

Can Ferrari replicate their success in this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix? Hot conditions in Malaysia two weeks ago played a significant role in their success as they were able to make their tyres last better in the race than Mercedes. But although conditions in Shanghai, the scene of this weekend's race, are expected to get warmer over the coming days, they will remain south of 20C and well below the 30C-plus air temperatures and fearsome 60C track surface heat seen in Malaysia.

Ferrari are not to be discounted - Vettel is clearly back to his best and they were pin-sharp from a strategic point of view last time out, making Mercedes look decidedly flat-footed. There was much for the three-pointed star to reflect on after their surprise defeat.


Nico Rosberg's form track

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia : News Photo

Expect them to hit back strongly this weekend at a venue where their cars have always run well and at which Nico Rosberg in particular tends to shine. True, Lewis Hamilton led the team in a one-two last year, having seized the initiative in a rain-hit qualifying session. But Rosberg's position was badly weakened when a technical problem on his car caused a slow start.

Shanghai has always been one of Rosberg's strongest venues. Before Mercedes were anything like as competitive as they are today he led significant chunks of the 2010 and 2011 races, then in 2012 stuck the car on pole position and went on to win.

At 3.50, his odds of victory this weekend are more than twice as long as Hamilton's, who is the clear favourite at 1.65.

Keep in mind that Rosberg seemed able to sustain more life in his tyres for longer in Malaysia, something which could really play into his hands in China if he can mitigate the tyre-sapping effects of Shanghai's long, looping turn one.

It's a closer contest between the pair when it comes to pole position - Hamilton on 1.60, Rosberg 2.30. With dry conditions expected for Saturday, it's hard to make a case for backing anyone other than the Mercedes drivers to occupy the front row.


The rest of the grid

Australian F1 Grand Prix : News Photo

China has the longest pure straight of the F1 season and the maximum speed tables from the previous races makes it clear the Renault and Honda-powered cars are going to struggle here. That means Red Bull, Toro Rosso and McLaren. Surprisingly, Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso have had the beating of their elder sibling so far this year.

Williams have been a disappointment so far, seemingly having failed to close the gap to the Mercedes factory team, whose engines they use. Keep an eye on fellow Mercedes customers Lotus, who've had some reliability niggles so far but are likely to find performance soon - most likely with Romain Grosjean who's on 25.00 for a podium finish this weekend.


Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic