Friday 9 May 2014

Spanish GP Betting Preview - Red Bull will be closer, but not close enough. By Andy Morgan

Round five of the Formula 1 2014 season takes us to the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain as the European stint kicks in and upgrades are expected up and down the paddock.

Red Bull and Ferrari may relish the opportunity to exploit their chassis in Spain, yet the huge gap between themselves and the dominant Mercedes duo is unlikely to be in major jeopardy this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton looks the man to beat once again
Photo: Octane Photography
The lead Mercedes has over second-placed Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship has increased to a staggering 97 points in just four races, while in the Drivers' Championship Lewis Hamilton has closed the gap to just four points to his team mate Nico Rosberg after three consecutive race victories.

For Red Bull to turn this season around they'll need to make imminent inroads into the Mercs' advantage, so news that updates to the Renault engine are planned up until the Canadian Grand Prix in June will give the team some cause for optimism, though it may also have preferred the improvements to be available sooner.

The weather is likely to be warm and dry throughout the weekend, with a very small of chance of rain on Sunday. After a three week break since China, all 11 teams are likely to bring a variety of upgrades and improved packages, therefore it will be trickier to predict the outcome for Saturday and Sunday, particularly lower down the order. Early indications in FP1 suggest that the McLarens have improved, while Ferrari look stronger at a track suited to them.

It's hard to forget the emotional victory last year by Fernando Alonso who won his second Spanish Grand Prix emphatically, and well ahead of Rosberg and Hamilton. Both Nico and Lewis qualified on the front row, yet their attentions come the race were consistently focused in their mirrors as they struggled with tyre degradation and grip throughout.

Unfortunately for the chasing pack, I can't see a similar capitulation in 2014.

Best bets of the weekend

Qualifying Winner: Lewis Hamilton - 1.6

The Winner and Qualifying markets are understandably dominated by Hamilton and Rosberg and it is difficult to find great value. Similarly to previous weekends I edge towards the raw pace of Hamilton as he looks to crank up the pressure on Rosberg in qualifying and put the German on the back foot prior to race day.

Daniel Ricciardo once again is a man worth watching
Photo: Octane Photography
Podium Finish: Daniel Ricciardo - 2.86

With Hamilton and Rosberg likely to be scrapping for the win, the third and final podium place continues to offer value. We tipped Alonso in China previously and although it wouldn't surprise me to see the Spaniard close, I fancy Ricciardo to step up and continue to exert his stance at Red Bull.

Top 6 Finish: Jenson Button - 2.52

The top 6 market is dominated by Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari but it rarely concludes in such a simple fashion. McLaren have struggled of late but I fancy Jenson Button at that price to potentially cause an upset and get McLaren back on track.

Other bets

Podium Finish: Fernando Alonso - 2.6

Alonso stepped up last year, he could easily do the same with an improving Ferrari.

Quali/Race Double: Lewis Hamilton - 2.0

If you're a Lewis Hamilton fan then this bet is for you, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he emulated his China performance.

Race Win: Daniel Ricciardo - 26

Don't put your house on it, but if the race between Hamilton and Rosberg ends in an accident someone else will have to cross the finishing line first.

Bets we've made this weekend

Will Jenson Button lead a McLaren comeback?
Photo: Octane Photography
Qualifying Winner: Lewis Hamilton - 1.6

Podium Finish: Daniel Ricciardo - 2.86

Top 6 Finish: Jenson Button - 2.52

Quali/Race Double: Lewis Hamilton - 2.0

All odds courtesy of Betfair Exchange on Friday Morning GMT after FP1 and before FP2

All odds courtesy of Betfair 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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