Wednesday 5 April 2017

Chinese GP Betting Preview - Mercedes reign and Shanghai rain?

So, on the basis of Melbourne, we do have unpredictability in F1 after all. Which of course makes it much more fun, and more opportune perhaps, for the F1 gambler.

Is there value in backing a Mercedes bounce back?
Photo: Octane Photography
Hopefully you listened to my suggestion to get Sebastian Vettel for the Australian win at 7/2, as well as that Lewis Hamilton was more likely to be on top in qualifying and was available at 6/5 for the pole (admittedly I mentioned several other bets as well, but that's beside the point...)

Conversely though the shock Ferrari-Vettel triumph may tempt us to go full circle back to the usually haughty Mercedes for round two in China this weekend. As Australia's goings-on mean the Merc odds are longer than usual.

Think of it this way. Ferrari's Australian triumph might have been a one off. After all many think it goes peculiarly well at that track plus Mercedes might still have won with better strategy, or with Valtteri Bottas qualifying slightly quicker. And there may not be a better time to get value on the Silver Arrows.

Betting on Lewis Hamilton to win in China will, at 11/8, get you more than double your stake back if it comes in. While even Lewis to get pole can be got at evens, which he got pretty comfortably in Melbourne despite having the slower race car. That one in particular looks tempting.

And if you want a medium range punt you might also be tempted by the odds available for the other Mercedes of Bottas. He got better as his Merc debut weekend in Melbourne went on, and you can get a full 7/1 for him to win in China, 9/2 for him to get the pole and even 4/5 for him to get a top three finish, which with a trouble free run you'd think was a minimum expectation.

Rain in China could bring the Red Bulls into the picture
Photo: Octane Photography
There may be potential this time to get wackier. Rain hits Chinese Grand Prix weekends frequently and forecasts at the time of writing have some around this weekend. And in recent years wet weather has brought the Red Bulls into play. It remains something of a punt still, but 25/1 on Daniel Ricciardo to win in China and the same for him to get pole would suddenly look great value with a wet track. Similarly you can get Max Verstappen at 22/1 to win and 25/1 to bag the pole. And last year at Shanghai Ricciardo was able to start on the front row even in a dry qualifying conclusion.

If you fancy a real long shot then what of Nico Hulkenberg for pole? We know how he performs in wet-to-dry qualifying sessions, as he got the pole in Brazil in 2010 and also started from the front row in Austria last year in exactly those sorts of conditions. And you can get a full 1,000/1 on him to get pole this time.

Perhaps the greatest plunder can be had from betting on a driver to top first Friday practice, and again praying for rain (when a wet track could be most likely). In such circumstances the order can get really wacky, as not all cars will set a time (only 14 did so in wet FP3 in China last season) plus being quickest often is a case of who so happened to set a mark when the track was driest. Reviewing the long shot odds available here is rather like being being a kid in a sweet shop, but what of Esteban Ocon - who impressed so much in Brazil's rain last year - to top FP1 at 500/1?

All odds quoted in this article were accurate on the Oddschecker website at 2000 GMT on Wednesday 5 April 2017.

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