F1’s Triple-header of European Grand Prix ends at Silverstone and Lewis Hamilton now needs a big redemption effort on home soil after Mercedes had a disastrous Austrian Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton had taken the front row spots on the grid and locked out the front row, but things began to go wrong from the start as Bottas lost his front row spot to Kimi Raikkonen and soon after that, a loss of hydraulic pressure meant that he’d had to retire on only the 14th lap.
Whilst his car was being recovered there was a virtual safety car, but Mercedes’ strategists did not put Hamilton in during that period, meaning that Max Verstappen (6/1 with William Hill), Daniel Ricciardo and Kiki Raikkonen were all close enough to come out ahead of him after his next stop.
They all took advantage, and after Hamilton came in, he then began to suffer major rear tyre wear and Sebastian Vettel (8/1 with Paddy Power) then passed him. He had to come in – meaning fourth was the best he could finish – before he pulled off the track with a loss of fuel pressure with 63 laps driven.
This led Max Verstappen to a fine win, showing bravery to take third from Raikkonen after he went wide on the third turn before doing the same on turn seven to put himself in a prime position to take advantage of the oncoming problems, and the Red Bull showed impressive pace to be six seconds clear of the Ferraris with 20 laps to go before he also had tyre blisters, meaning there’s now one point between leaders Vettel and Hamilton.
Hamilton is favourite for a quick revenge, and Mercedes ought to be most suited by long, sweeping circuit that is Silverstone, given that they are generating the most power of the ‘big three teams.; However Britain is enclosed in a heatwave that is set to last all week with a current temperature of 29 degrees forecast for Saturday, so blistering is once again a danger (despite the structural changes that Pirelli undertook to avoid blistering at certain tracks following a request from Mercedes).
This makes the 11/10 that is generally available at top F1 betting sites for Hamilton an unappealing prospect, for all that he was dominant at the Circuit Paul Ricard a fortnight ago from start to finish. Sebastian Vettel will be a danger, but the Ferraris were never truly in the running at the Paul Ricard and clearly second best until Verstappen began to blister at the Red Bull Ring last week.
A flaming hot track could lead to a number of retirements once again – there were only 14 finishes last week – and with the market leaders not impervious to these issues – it could pay to look outside of the front two here if you’re considering taking part in some F1 betting action.
Valtteri Bottas could be in the thick of the title fight had the cards fallen differently through the season and the Finn now looks to have the mastery of the Mercedes. It’s amazing to think that he isn’t right on the tail of both Vettel and Hamilton - he should have taken wins in both China and Azerbaijan and would have had it not been for a safety car in Shanghai and a puncture in Baku.
He hasn’t had much luck in the last two weeks either – Vettel took him out of the French Grand Prix from second on the grid, and his lap at the Red Bull ring last weekend was a sensational effort to top Hamilton to pole. Should he make it through the weekend without a major blowout, then the 6/1 with William Hill is likely to look very big at some point during the race.
Both Red Bulls suffered from blistering during the race last week, but they are competing pound for pound with the very best this season and Max Verstappen appeals to pick up the pieces once again. Verstappen was brilliant when the chance came last week with early aggression putting him in the thick of it. Silverstone is a driver’s paradise for someone like Verstappen, with the RB14 matching the Ferrari’s at least, and he can get involved once again.
An each/way bet on Verstappen would have made a return in four of the last five Grands Prix and the Dutchman now appears to have found the balance between the pure racing and control needed to keep himself safely on track. The 13/2 with Ladbrokes appeals although he is generally 6/1 elsewhere.