Russian Grand Prix Betting: Mercedes Set To Crown Remarkable Season


One of the two Formula One world championship titles is likely to be clinched in the Russian Grand Prix this weekend.

Mercedes won the teams' title at this race last year and the odds are heavily stacked in favour of them doing the same again at Sochi. They only need to increase their points lead over Ferrari by three points to retain the crown which they won for the first time 12 months ago.

Their odds of success this weekend reflects the superiority Mercedes has enjoyed for much of this season: with just 1.02 on either of their drivers winning on Sunday, compared to 10.00 for Ferrari, 25.00 for Williams and over 100.0 for any other team.

 

Mercedes look hard to beat

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Qualifying : News Photo

Can anything stop Mercedes in Russia? Last year they were so dominant Nico Rosberg was able to cruise through the field to second place despite having ruined his tyres by locking up heavily at the start. Lewis Hamilton stroked his car home, not stressing his W05 one iota more than was necessary, and still had 17 seconds in hand over the next non-Mercedes.

The top five places were claimed by Mercedes-powered cars, a fact which pointed to the importance of fuel economy around the stop-start Sochi track. That puts them in a strong position again this weekend - Hamilton is favourite to win on 1.45, Rosberg next on 3.50.

 

Ferrari in with a shout

AUTO-PRIX-JPN-F1 : News Photo

However Ferrari has made strides with its power unit over the last 12 months, which is one of two reasons why it can expect to be more competitive on its return to Russia. The other is that F1's tyre supplier Pirelli is bringing a different mix of rubber this weekend. Sochi's ultra-low grip surface means the softest compounds can be used - and that will be good news for the Ferrari faithful, as their cars have gone well on the super-softs this year.

Sebastian Vettel, therefore, is third-favourite to win on 8.00. It is conceivable he could beat the Mercedes in a straight fight - after all he had the pace to keep Rosberg behind in Japan on a track which did not play to his car's strengths. If he can get in among the Mercedes in qualifying, lead them to the first corner, he's got an outside chance. Especially if team mate Kimi Raikkonen brings his A-game as well - though it's hard to see him bringing a return on odds of 25.00 for victory.

Raikkonen, incidentally, can also be backed at 7.00 to set a pole position this year. In theory he's got a car which can do it - Vettel took pole in Singapore - but realistically this is a bet to avoid. One-lap pace is not Raikkonen's strength but it is Vettel's, and if a Ferrari's going to start at the front anywhere it is far more likely to be number five than number seven.

 

Outsiders

One other driver to keep an eye on in qualifying is Valtteri Bottas. The Mercedes-powered Williams driver is on 41.00 to take pole position, something he came very close to taking last year. Bottas flew through the opening sectors of the lap and had it not been for a mistake in the final corners he could have at least split the Mercedes, perhaps even come out ahead.

The Williams should suit the Sochi track, making this one of few outside bets worth seriously considering in what is otherwise likely to be a fairly predictable grand prix.

 

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic