Raikkonen looks a good bet for Bahrain
It’s a safe bet that Formula One’s return to the strife-hit country of Bahrain will be the focus of intense debate this weekend. Some MPs have already claimed that the race should not take place.
For now, the indications are that the race will take place. Here’s a look at the betting opportunities available this weekend.
In China qualifying was heavily affected by race strategy. This makes predicting the outcome more complicated than just working out who is quickest.
Drivers receive an allocation of tyres before qualifying which they must use during it and the race the following day. Taking too much life out of their tyres in qualifying can hurt them on race day. The high rate of tyre wear in China led some drivers in the top ten shoot out to not set times or to use the slower medium tyres.
There’s a chance that could happen again this weekend. However, a late change in the tyre allocation for this weekend – with the medium compound replacing the soft – makes it less likely.
Red Bull have been one of the teams pushing for a change to more conservative tyres. Now they have it the clear favourite for pole position is Sebastian Vettel on odds of 2.6.
Kimi Raikkonen, who started second in China, may seem good value on 8.0 for pole this weekend. But the Lotus thrives on the softer tyre compounds and the team are likely to be disappointed they aren’t being used for this race.
However, Raikkonen looks like a good prospect for race victory and offers odds of 4.5. He had a brilliant run to second in this race last year, having started eleventh.
Managing rear tyre wear is critical at this track and that is an area where Raikkonen and the Lotus chassis excels.
It’s hard to ignore Mark Webber’s odds of 17.0 to win the race in the car which is currently leading both championships.
Webber has a three-place grid penalty going into this weekend. But the Red Bulls ran strongly on the harder tyres in Malaysia where Webber was on course for victory before that notorious run-in with his team mate.
Assuming he left his rotten luck behind in Shanghai, and he’s learned his lesson about keeping his team mate behind, Webber is worth a look at these odds.
With three races behind us it’s worth taking a look at the betting options in the championship. Last year’s protagonists Vettel and Alonso unsurprisingly have the shortest odds at 2.4 and 2.5 respectively.
After Raikkonen’s bright start to the season, odds of 6.0 look enticing. But if the teams lobbying for more conservative tyres continue to get their way it could undermine a key strength of the Lotus.
Hamilton has got off to a better start with Mercedes than most people expected. Three races in he’s only 12 points behind leader Vettel. There’s clearly more to come from him and the Mercedes package as well, making 11.0 very decent returns on a punt.
But if you’ve got a fiver burning a hole in your pocket and would like a long-odds punt with the potential for some serious end-of-year bragging rights, have a look at Jenson Button.
Struggling with an uncompetitive McLaren, his odds have risen to 40.0. But the team are bringing a substantial upgrade package to the next race in Spain which could completely transform the car. Button did a brilliant job to bring it home fifth in China, and if McLaren can recapture their form from the end of 2012 he could yet be a late addition to the championship contest.
Bet now on the Bahrain Grand Prix
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic