Lewis Hamilton extended his lead at the top of the Formula One drivers’ championship to 50 points after last weekend’s win in Russia.
His advantage is almost an unassailable one heading into Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and he could finish second in the five remaining races this season and still win his fifth world title – such is his advantage at the moment.
Our F1 betting expert takes a look at the best bets ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix.
Vettel has it all to do
It is simply a must-win race for Sebastian Vettel if he is to have any chance of overhauling the Brit at the top of the standings.
Hamilton has been in top form of late and has won races at tracks where Mercedes had not been expected to go as well as Ferrari – the likes of Monza and Singapore.
Vettel has won at Suzuka on four occasions, the same amount as Hamilton, but the German has not tasted victory in Japan since 2013, and the last four runnings of the race have been won by a Mercedes driver.
Bottas to follow team orders again?
Valtteri Bottas must be one frustrated driver underneath that helmet. He had to give up his chance of a win last weekend in his homeland to enhance Hamilton’s title bid.
Although he may say he’s a team player he must be hurting deep down, and with Mercedes’ dominance in Japan, another 1-2 is not out of the equation.
However, the evens on offer in a double simply doesn’t represent good value for me and I will look elsewhere.
Erratic Verstappen always in thick of the action
It is hard to look past the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas, but both are too short for me to support.
Instead I have looked for a bit of value and in particular the specials markets, which offer some interesting odds.
Max Verstappen is known for his erratic nature behind the wheel and whenever there seems to be an incident, he is more than likely to have been involved in some shape or form.
With that in mind, odds of 3/1 on him to not finish the race seem very attractive and that is one bet I am willing to go with.
Apart from last year’s race where only 15 drivers finished the race, the Grand Prix has been completed by most of the field, so a bet on over 17.5 finishers at 5/2 also appeals.