Malaysian Grand Prix Betting: With Rain Forecast, Look Beyond Mercedes

After a thumping performance by Mercedes in the first race of the new season, what chance do their rivals really have - and is it worth putting any money on them at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix?

You only have to look at the qualifying odds to appreciate Mercedes' stranglehold on Formula One at the moment. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are clear favourites on 1.50 and 2.40 respectively - and the next-favourite is Sebastian Vettel on a whopping 25.00.

Is it worth considering a bet like that at all? Recall that 12 months ago Vettel came within just five-hundredths of a second of taking pole position in a wet qualifying session at Sepang. Rain is a common sight at this part of the world at this time of year, but at the moment Malaysia's meteorological service is forecasting dry conditions for Saturday.


Race day rain makes Force Indias appealing

Australian F1 Grand Prix : News Photo

Sunday is a different matter, however. Showers are forecast for the afternoon which would coincide with the start of the race. And it tends not to drizzle in Malaysia - the drivers know when the skies darken the track is likely to be thoroughly doused in a matter of minutes.

Who is best to back in wet weather conditions? Ordinarily either McLaren driver would be an obvious candidate. Jenson Button has a superb touch in the wet, has a knack for reading the changing conditions perfectly and won a rain-shortened Malaysian Grand Prix six years ago. Alonso's wet weather credentials are just as sound plus he's a three-times winner at this track. Unfortunately for them the new McLaren-Honda is not running reliably at the moment, and when it runs at all it tends to be at the back of the pack, so count them out.

The most interesting drivers to pick out if Sunday is going to be wet is the Force India duo. The team's car has proved very reliable so far and both their drivers have a reputation for excelling in difficult conditions. Nico Hulkenberg's wet weather performances in Brazil in 2010 and 2012 have been the high point of his career so far, and Sergio Perez almost won at a wet Sepang in 2012.

Both these drivers are on odds of 101.00 just to reach the podium. But it gets better: either can be backed at huge odds of 301.00 to be the first non-Mercedes home. Considering how well their cars ran at Bahrain and Canada last year, it's not beyond the realm of possibility. However it's hard to see it happening without some help from the weather.


Driver vs driver

AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 : News Photo

Unibet is also offering odds on the outcomes of different head-to-head battles throughout the field. Do you think Rosberg will spice up the drivers' title battle by putting one over Hamilton this weekend? He's on 2.70 to come out on top in Malaysia.

Slightly longer odds of 3.10 are available on Daniel Ricciardo beating Kimi Raikkonen. This is a curious offer, as Ricciardo was leading Raikkonen in Australia before the pit stops began.

Raikkonen's Ferrari certainly looks a more competitive package than Ricciardo's Red Bull at the moment. But Red Bull were constrained all weekend in Australia by problems with their Renault engine. Fixes are expected for this weekend's race, so if you like the sound of this bet keep an eye on how Red Bull perform in Friday practice and see if the gap has narrowed. 

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic