Friday, 23 May 2014

Monaco GP Betting Preview - Forget the rest - Nico is still the challenge to Lewis. By Andy Morgan

Round 6 of the Formula 1 2014 season takes us to Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix, a track full of history and a race full of intrigue.

Can Nico Rosberg bounce back this time?
Photo: Octane Photography
This week Red Bull rightly claimed that the power unit driving Mercedes to a 2014 Constructors' Championship is the major difference between the two teams and that its drivers will not be too far behind the Silver Arrows in Monaco. Similar prophecies were made in Barcelona however and look how that panned out.

FP1 in Monaco proved that Red Bull is close, with Daniel Ricciardo's best coming up short of the Mercs by two and a half tenths. The gap may make Mercedes sweat a touch but it won't be needing buckets; it's all about intra-team battles again this weekend.

Sergio Perez has battled back against Nico Hulkenburg and I expect him to qualify quicker than his team mate, likewise Valtteri Bottas in the Williams who has proven his one lap pace is impressive. Fernando Alonso will continue his dominance of Kimi Raikkonen, while eyes will be on Sebastian Vettel as to whether he can bounce back against Ricciardo after the latter's debut podium in Barcelona. But the main focus continues up the front.

Nico Rosberg won his first Monaco GP last year after qualifying on pole and racing away to victory, an achievement likely to soothe the damaged confidence he's suffered over the previous four races. Early signs in FP1 show there's very little between Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, even if Lewis hit the snooze button once too often earlier in the day. The stage could be set for Nico to shine and get his season back on track, reminding the Brit in the process that there's a long road ahead to the Drivers' World Championship.

Best Bets of the weekend

Total Classified Drivers: Over 16.5 - 2.02

Don't be fooled by the Monaco reputation. There will be minimal overtaking with drivers looking to get out of the turbulent air and jump rivals in the pit stops. Drivers will be cautious and content to keep position, rather than test the unstable grip levels of the 2014 cars. Hold your breath round the first lap and you could have some easy money this weekend.

Quali/Race Double: Rosberg - 4.1

The outcome to the Quali/Race double is likely to be decided in Qualifying as the pole sitter tends to win in Monaco. The odds are too good to ignore for Rosberg to repeat his success last year. If you want to cover your bet I'd suggest backing the Quali/Race Double for Hamilton at 2.36. I cannot see them switching after Qualifying.

The smart money may still be on Lewis Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
Quali/Race Double: Hamilton - 2.3

As mentioned above this bet could be used to cover the Rosberg double or if you fancy it yourself. There are question marks over whether Hamilton can dominate like Vettel did towards the end of 2013. Here is his chance to prove some of the remaining doubters wrong.

Other Bets

Qualifying Winner: Lewis Hamilton - 1.86

Nico qualifying on pole last year makes this a difficult call. The German may be 4-1 down in qualifying but the score is 1-1 in the dry and early signs show it's going to be close. This is a track where heightened determination and adrenaline can lead to mistakes, often punished by the Monaco circuit. I'm going to lean towards Hamilton but I can't back at that price with confidence.

Podium Finish: Fernando Alonso - 3.7

Fernando may get the better of the Red Bulls during the race; Ricciardo and Vettel may fight hard against each other and let Alonso in.

Is Sergio Perez a dark horse?
Photo: Octane Photography
Top 6 Finish: Sergio Perez - 4.5

The Force India looks strong this weekend and its smooth package suits Monaco nicely. Perez has decent qualifying speed so should be there or thereabouts come Sunday.

Bets we've made this weekend

Quali/Race Double: Hamilton - 2.3

Total Classified Drivers: Over 16.5 - 2.02

All odds courtesy of Betfair Exchange on Friday Morning GMT after FP1 and FP2. This post is written by Andy Morgan. It originally featured on F1 2014 Betting Preview and has been reproduced with permission.

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