Italian Grand Prix Betting: Ferrari To Struggle But Force India Have Qualifying Pedigree


Belgium was a frustrating race for Ferrari: a tyre blow-out on the penultimate lap denied Sebastian Vettel a top-three finish and Spa specialist Kimi Raikkonen was mired in the midfield after technical trouble in qualifying.

As usual this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza is expected to see grandstands packed to capacity with the Ferrari faithful. But the prospects of them seeing one of their beloved scarlet cars taking the chequered flag first is not good.

Monza is the last remaining pure power track in Formula One. With long straights and few corners, F1 cars will hit their highest top speeds of the year this weekend, potentially exceeding 360kph (223mph). Although Ferrari can always be expected to produce something special for their home race, the sheer grunt of Mercedes' power unit is likely to make the difference.

Last time out at Spa, where engine power is also a significant part of the performance equation, the top five cars in qualifying all had the three-pointed star to thank for their grunt. The top six speeds recorded at the official timing point were all set by Mercedes-powered cars.

The Ferrari duo may be the second favourites to win after the Mercedes pair, but their odds are not exactly favourable. Vettel, who has consistently out-performed his team-mate so far this year, is at 12.0, Raikkonen offers much longer odds of 29.0.

Tip Force India for a qualifying shock

As usual, the Mercedes pair offer little more than even odds on their chances of success. Lewis Hamilton, who has taken pole position for ten of the eleven races so far this year, is 1.40. Nico Rosberg, who is desperately keen to halt Hamilton's progress in the championship fight, has odds which are more than twice as long at 2.85. So far this year he's been over three-tenths of a second slower than Hamilton on average in qualifying. 

At the last race Mercedes' advantage over their closest rivals in qualifying was more than 1.4 seconds. However, Monza is a considerably shorter and simpler track, so expect the contest to be quite a bit closer. Given that, it's a surprise to note how long the odds are on one of Mercedes' closest competitors in Belgium.

Sergio Perez produced the surprise of qualifying by putting his upgraded Force India - with a Mercedes engine - fourth on the grid. His odds on pole position this weekend are a stunning 301.0 and team mate Nico Hulkenberg - who has out-qualified Perez eight times out of eleven attempts this year - is on 251.0.

The drivers and their team have excellent past form at Monza: Hulkenberg qualified a shock third for Sauber two years ago, and one year earlier Perez took second place for the same team. Force India also had one of their cars on the front row in 2009 - could this be the year it all comes together for them?

Lotus also had a strong outing at Spa and Romain Grosjean, who gave the team their first podium finish since 2013, believes they could be even stronger at Monza. He's on 201.0 to take pole position, and it's worth keeping a look out for what odds he may offer on another top-three finish.

However it's probably best to steer clear of backing his incident-prone team-mate. Pastor Maldonado has already racked up more penalties than any other driver so far this year - a familiar feature from past seasons - and like Rosberg is being thrashed by his team mate in qualifying.

 

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic