Lewis Hamilton bounced back from a frustrating summer at the Italian Grand Prix. Having seen the championship lead he enjoyed after the Spanish Grand Prix reversed due to a combination of unreliability, qualifying errors and plain bad luck, he hit back in emphatic style at Monza.
The manner in which he took his sixth win of the year will have given team mate and point leader Nico Rosberg something to think about. All weekend long Hamilton’s looked the quicker of the two Mercedes, and even another ill-timed technical glitch, which spoiled his start, couldn’t put him off his stride.
As a result, the man who lost his position as championship favourite heading into the last round is once again the driver with the shortest odds on claiming the crown. Hamilton is now favoured at 1.75 to take the title, with Rosberg at 1.95.
But the fact remains Hamilton still has to overturn a 22-point deficit in six races. And with the Mercedes pair looking eminently capable of finish all the remaining races in first and second place, Hamilton’s chances are not as good as they first seem. If you calculate all the permutations by which he and Rosberg can lead the field in the remaining rounds, Hamilton comes out on top in less than 10% of them.
Red Bull to lead the opposition
Hamilton is also favourite to win this weekend’s race, the seventh running of the Singapore Grand Prix. The 2009 race winner is priced at 1.70 compared to Rosberg on 2.60. But as always if you want longer odds you’ll have to summon up the courage to pick something other than car numbers 6 and 44.
An excellent starting point is Sebastian Vettel, the winner of the last three races at the track, who is fourth favourite at 20.00. This is not only a track he knows superbly well, it is also one where the Red Bull RB10 might even be a match for the devastating Mercedes W05. The succession of slow corners and absence of high-speed sections is almost tailor-made for the reigning champion’s chassis.
But he won’t just need to beat the Mercedes to claim a win, he’ll also have to put one over his team mate – something he’s found difficult to do this year. That’s why Daniel Ricciardo – who’s won three times already this season – has considerably shorter odds at 12.00.
When it comes to picking the podium finishers don’t overlook Fernando Alonso, a two-time winner of this race (albeit in dubious circumstances in 2008), who’s at 4.75 to claim his third top-three finish of the season. Like Red Bull, Ferrari will be relieved to have moved on from the high-speed circuits which exposed the weaknesses of their car.
Mercedes’ domination this season has been so overwhelming you can even place bets on who will be the first non-Mercedes driver home. Ricciardo is favourite at 2.30, followed by Vettel and Valtteri Bottas at 3.25.
Verstappen is a long shot for 2015
One of the most surprising pieces of recent F1 news was Red Bull’s decision to promote Max Verstappen, a Formula Three racer who turns 17 at the end of the month, into F1 with Toro Rosso next year. Verstappen was a prodigious talent at karts and has carried his searing pace into his first year of racing cars this season.
Can he go a step further and add a win during his first grand prix season? Odds of 8.00 are available on him doing just that.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic