Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Chinese GP Betting Preview - Chinese Chequers

It all looked so simple. The Melbourne season-opener seemed to confirm the pre-season testing grapevine without the most minor variation. Yes a mid-race Virtual Safety Car shuffled the end result, but that was happenstance.

The Bahrain round contained a major departure in
F1 form, but Mercedes could bounce back in China
Photo: Pirelli Media
Then the Bahrain round comes along next and dashes just about all of our certainties. It started at the front - Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton wasn't strolling the 2018 season after all as Ferrari plain out-paced the silver cars at the Sakhir circuit in qualifying at least. Then on race day Sebastian Vettel held them off to win again and make it two wins from two.

And so the big question as we head into round three in China is was Melbourne the unusual case, was Bahrain, or is the norm even something else entirely?

You can make a coherent case that Mercedes will bounce back this weekend. If the heat of Bahrain was Merc's problem then Shanghai will be much cooler. If the abrasive surface in Bahrain was Merc's problem then Shanghai's is much smoother. And even with all its problems Mercedes probably should still have won in Bahrain; it probably would have without Hamilton's grid penalty.

History is on Lewis's side this weekend too. He's won at the Shanghai track five times including three of the last four. Seb meanwhile, oddly, has only won here once and that was pushing a decade ago, in 2009's severe rain.

Therefore evens for Lewis to win and 11/13 for him to get pole position look worth your wager. Those odds are a little longer than usual, presumably due to the first two rounds' results, and it may be a good time to take advantage. A Vettel hat-trick of wins can be backed meanwhile at 23/10.

Pierre Gasly vaulted to the front of
the chasing pack in Bahrain
Photo: Pirelli Media
We've yet to see in 2018 what Red Bull is really made of but the consensus remains that it'll be a force if it can ever string a clean weekend together - the Bull could even be the quickest race day car. As usual Max Verstappen's odds to prevail this weekend are shorter than Daniel Ricciardo's but Ricciardo's been the more impressive Bull pilot in 2018 thus far - certainly the less error prone. Therefore 13/8 for Ricciardo to bag a podium this weekend looks good value.

Bahrain's running also dashed our certainties about the state of play behind the big three teams. Testing and Melbourne suggested it was Haas, Renault and McLaren (roughly in that order) heading the midfield, but in Bahrain Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso vaulted from the back to trounce them all, and even Sauber - which we thought was well off the back of the peleton - got a couple of points in Marcus Ericsson's hands.

Still Nico Hukenberg has pretty consistently been near or at the best of the rest position this season as well as has been the lead Renault - he also qualified seventh here last year - so the 7/2 available on him to get a top six finish this weekend may tempt. Similar goes for Kevin Magnussen who can be backed at 3/1 to finish in the top six. McLaren's odds meanwhile look short, particularly when its wavering 2018 form is considered

One price that doesn't look short is that you can get a whole 10/1 on Ericsson to repeat his point-scoring this weekend.

All odds quoted in this article were accurate on the Oddschecker website at 2115 BST on Wednesday 11 April 2018.

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