Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Abu Dhabi GP Betting Preview - A tale of two drivers

Abu Dhabi for our final round of the year is the polar opposite of the penultimate one in Brazil. If Interlagos is the itinerary's most wacky stop-off this at the Yas Marina circuit is the most standard. And just as was the case at the opposite end of the scale, this create problems but also opportunities for the F1 gambler.

Abu Dhabi Grands Prix are mainly about two men
Photo: Octane Photography
History is helpful - it tells us there are only two places to look for an Abu Dhabi pole and win. In eight F1 visits only two have not been won by Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel. And even if the previous wasn't this stark they'd still be the two clear favourites to be on top this weekend.

Lewis can be got at 19/20 to triumph and Seb at 11/4 - and either looks good value.

They're good bets for pole as well, and again history is on our side as Lewis and Seb between them have five from eight Yas Marina poles. Lewis can be backed at 5/7 to bag pole this time while Seb is at 9/2.

Given all this the rest may be fighting over third place at most, but if the Mercedes is to be strong as it was at Interlagos, and Abu Dhabi's high temperatures should suit the Merc too, then Valtteri Bottas looks reasonable value at 7/10 to finish on the podium.

As ever either Force India driver is a good bet to sneak into a top six finish if one of the 'big six' clears out of the way. Last year here the Silverstone pair got seventh and eighth both in qualifying and the race, while two years ago Sergio Perez qualified fourth and finished fifth. Either Force India pilot is available at 3/1 to finish in the top six on Sunday.

As for points scorers, Felipe Massa has a good Abu Dhabi record - indeed he finished second in 2014 - and can be backed at 3/4 to score on his F1 farewell. While Fernando Alonso and McLaren have been on the money recently and 9/10 looks good value for the Spaniard to score this time.

And given we're at the end of the 2017 campaign then why not look immediately to the next one, and who might be champion then? After all, as Clive James once noted the next F1 season begins the same day the old one ends...

There are no big rule changes for 2018 so the feed-in from this year to next should be fairly direct, and Mercedes also has relatively easy gains to make in eliminating the conspicuous flaws of its 2017 car. All in Lewis to be 2018 champion at 13/8 you suspect won't get more generous.

While if you fancy slightly longer punts there is some money to be had potentially if Renault finally does justice to Max Verstappen - he can be backed at 4/1 to claim next year's title. And taking this assumption further, what of Alonso in a McLaren Renault? After all Nando is a known quantity while a few - not least Nando - reckon McLaren's chassis is the best out there. And you can back him for next year's drivers' championship at a whole 20/1.

All odds quoted in this article were accurate on the Oddschecker website at 1900 GMT on Wednesday 22 November 2017.

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