Formula One betting expert Iain Spragg previews the weekend’s Mexican Gran Prix…
Luckily for Formula One and its convoy of trucks, outrageously luxurious Winnebagos and not forgetting the cars themselves, Donald Trump hasn’t yet built his wall between the States and Mexico, so the circus’ journey south across the border from Texas for this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix should at least be a smooth one.
Whether Lewis Hamilton’s charge to a fourth world title proves as unimpeded remains to be seen, but after his victory at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, it’s hard to be bet against the Brit. The 32-year-old’s ninth win – of what is turning out to be a dominant campaign – has put the Mercedes man on the verge of the championship once again, and short of a spectacular mechanical meltdown or race-ending crash in Mexico City, his coronation seems assured.
The equation for Sebastian Vettel’s rapidly fading title hopes is simple: even if the German wins in Mexico, Hamilton has to finish sixth or lower to prolong proceedings. Given that the Brit has won five of the last six Grand Prix, it’s difficult to see him being outraced by his faltering Ferrari rival.
Hamilton won in Mexico last year – the sixth Brit to do so – and was second in 2015, while Vettel does not have fond memories of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez after crashing out two years ago.
Hamilton leading the way
The betting has Hamilton way out in front, at 17/20, to take the chequered flag on Sunday, with Vettel back at 13/5 to clinch the victory that may or may not keep the Mercedes’ champagne on ice. The Brit is 1/6 to wrap up what would be his 13th podium finish of the season, while the German is 7/20 to secure a top three place.
While Mercedes have already wrapped up the constructor’s championship, there’s still work to be done. With three races to go, Valtteri Bottas has a genuine chance of overhauling Vettel for the runners-up spot in the standings. The Finn trails the four-time champion by just 21 points, and is 10/1 to do the business in Mexico – adding to his victories in Russia and Austria earlier this season.
Max Verstappen a 4/1 shot
Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen is 16/1 to be the fastest on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez after his third place in Austin, but the shortest priced driver outside the top two is Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, a 4/1 shot to win his second race of the campaign.
The sixth and final credible challenger for victory according to the odds is Verstappen’s team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo (25/1). Beyond the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull duos, it’s long shots as far as the eye can see, with the quintet of Fernando Alonso, Nico Hülkenberg, Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz the best of the rest at 1000/1.
Victory for Hamilton on Sunday could see one Formula One record equalled and one surpassed. Assuming he makes it to the grid, it will be his 206th consecutive Grand Prix start, drawing him level with Nico Rosberg. Similarly, a win from pole position would be the 41st of his career, one better than the 40 that Michael Schumacher managed during his time on the track.