Sebastian Vettel provided Ferrari with a winning start to the 2017 Formula One season in Australia two weeks ago and he and his team will again hope to fight for victory at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix (Race: Sunday, 07:00 BST, live on Sky Sports F1).
Down under, Vettel made good on Ferrari’s strong pre-season testing pace to secure the team its first victory since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix. It was a significant triumph not only because he beat the Mercedes drivers but because he did so fair and square.
The German driver has a decent record at the Shanghai International Circuit, having finished on the podium in each of his two years at Ferrari. But it isn’t a stellar history, with just one victory (in 2009) to his name.
Vettel and Ferrari were very impressive in Australia but their triumph has served to slightly lengthen the odds on Mercedes taking victory this weekend. Given that Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished behind both Mercedes in Australia, it would appear that the difference between the two teams is minimal. In combination, these factors make the German team a more attractive proposition from a betting standpoint this time out.
Mercedes have won each of the last three and four of the last five Chinese Grand Prix and seem determined to learn from their mistakes and reassert themselves this weekend. Lewis Hamilton endured a difficult race last year but has otherwise consistently performed very strongly in China, with four victories and three further podium finishes at the event.
Hamilton can therefore be fancied to continue his fine form at the circuit by topping the podium on Sunday.
Red Bull will have been slightly alarmed by their display in Australia, as they were someway off the pace of Ferrari and Mercedes. Daniel Ricciardo had a very difficult weekend, while Max Verstappen was only able to secure a fifth-place finish. They showed little to indicate that they will be ready for fight for a place on the podium this weekend.
Williams showed solid pace in the hands of Felipe Massa, who came home sixth, while both Force India and Toro Rosso secured double points finishes, with Sergio Perez leading home that pack following a couple of well-executed overtakes on the two Toro Rosso drivers.
Massa, who came back from the briefest of retirements to return to Williams following Valtteri Bottas’ move to Mercedes, has a very decent record in Shanghai. He recorded two podium finishes alongside three further points finishes during his time with Ferrari and has also finished in the top six for Williams in each of the last two Chinese Grands Prix.
In his hands at least, the team currently look to have a decent pace advantage over the rest of the midfield runners and if any of the three teams ahead of them experience issues this weekend, Massa is likely to be on hand to secure his second top-six finish of the campaign.
McLaren performed better than they were expecting to in Australia, with Fernando Alonso gamely hanging onto a top-10 place for much of the race before losing it prior to his retirement in the latter stages. But Alonso’s post-race comments, in which he suggested the team currently have the grid’s slowest package, provided a more realistic appraisal of their current standing.
McLaren expect the long straights of the Shanghai International Circuit to further expose the weakness of a Honda power unit that was between 12-14 km/h slower than the fastest car through the speed trap during qualifying in Australia. The stresses of the circuit will also provide a stern test of the engine’s reliability, which was a major issue in pre-season testing.
With that in mind, it is likely to be a frustrating weekend for the team and it would not be at all surprising if Alonso again fails to finish.
Our Preview’s F1 Chinese Grand Prix Betting Tips Verdict
In light of the comments in the Chinese Grand Prix preview above, here are our betting tips for this F1 weekend:
- Bet on Lewis Hamilton to win the race @ 5/4 with Bet365 or SkyBet.
- Expect Felipe Massa to finish in the top six @ evens with SkyBet.
- Back Fernando Alonso not to finish @ best odds of 6/5 with Bet365.
- Click for to compare China Grand Prix 2017 betting & Drivers Title odds.