Vettel Helps Hamilton Seal Spanish Grand Prix Hat-Trick

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Spanish Grand Prix 2019

Mercedes’ perfect season continues. For the fifth race in a row, the two Silver Arrow drivers finished on the top two steps of the podium as they dominated the Spanish Grand Prix. This time, Lewis Hamilton took back top spot from team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pick up his third win of the season.

Meanwhile, there’s even more trouble for Ferrari. After all their scheming to upgrade their engine a couple of races earlier in Spain, the Prancing Horse were once again woefully off the pace in Barcelona as they failed to even grab a podium finish.

Ferrari’s loss was Red Bull’s gain as Max Verstappen stepped in to score his second top-three finish of the season.

Highlights of the game

Spanish Grand Prix featured a fierce battle between Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel

Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in action at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix

For the third race in a row, Bottas got the better of Hamilton in qualifying. The Finn was unable to make that advantage count in China, where Hamilton quickly overtook him and strolled to a win. But Bottas was able to hold off his team-mate to get the impressive win in Azerbaijan.

But unfortunately for Bottas, Hamilton did a repeat of Shanghai in Spain as he once again started well and took over the race lead within the first lap.

Although, Hamilton did have some help from Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver immediately produced Spanish Grand Prix 2019 highlights as tried to overtake Bottas on the outside heading into the first corner.

But in doing so, he gave Hamilton the opportunity to sneak up on his team-mate on the other side, which the defending champion took. After the race, Vettel himself owned up to the fact that he did Hamilton “a favour” with his move on Bottas.

Once ahead, it didn’t take Hamilton long to build his advantage over Bottas and the rest of the field.

Meanwhile, not only did Vettel fail to overtake the Mercedes, but he also dropped from third to fourth as Max Verstappen edged out in front. Vettel also picked up a flat spot on his tyre after going through the side of the road during his attempted overtake.

With Vettel struggling for pace due to his tyre problem, he began defending his fourth place from Charles Leclerc, who looked the faster of the two Ferraris. But with the German keeping his team-mate up, Verstappen was able to build his lead for third.

In lap 13, though, Ferrari finally ordered Vettel to let Leclerc through, which is a reversal from previous team orders this season. But despite being let through, Leclerc was unable to make up significant ground on Verstappen.

Vettel comes to pit and change tyres in lap 20, but a slow stop cost him some valuable places as he re-entered all the way down in tenth. Leclerc comes in six laps later as Ferrari are once again sloppy during the stop. And confusingly, Leclerc is on hard tyres as opposed to Vettel’s medium.

There are no such problems during Mercedes’ pit as both Hamilton and Bottas retain their one-two position after their first scheduled stops.

Thanks to his new tyres, Vettel finally begins to roll as he sets some fastest laps. And eventually, the team orders Leclerc to give way to the German once again. However, Vettel was also unable to gain enough ground on Verstappen in third.

Meanwhile, a safety car allows Hamilton to enter the pits and change his worn-out tyres. And once the race restarts, Hamilton bangs out some fastest laps as he just about secures victory.

Key Statistics

With the win, Hamilton has now won in Barcelona three years in a row, the first driver to do so since Michael Schumacher won four years on the bounce from 2001 to 2004.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have extended their record for most consecutive one-two finishes to start a season to five.

As for Ferrari, despite their recent impressive performances during pre-testing in Barcelona, they have now failed to finish in the top three in the race since 2017.

Max Verstappen, who started in fourth and finished in third, has kept up his impressive streak of not finishing lower than he started, which is now at 14 races.

What’s next?

Mercedes will now look to extend their amazing stretch of dominance this season in the Monaco Grand Prix on May 26. Given their incredible performance thus far, don’t be surprised to see the Spanish Grand Prix 2019 betting odds leaning heavily in the two Mercedes drivers’ favour once again.

Mercedes have won this race four out of the last six years, but only once by Hamilton. Nico Rosberg had a hat-trick of wins from 2013 to 2015.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is the reigning champion at Monaco as he led from pole and fended off both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Although, his us odds to repeat will likely be sky high as Mercedes continue to roll this season.

 

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Spanish Grand Prix: Ferrari Scheming to Stop Mercedes Dominance

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Spanish Grand Prix 2019

The first four races of the 2019 Formula One season can be summed up neatly using just one word and two numbers: Mercedes 1-2.

Yes, the reigning constructor’s champions have seen their two drivers — reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and rising star Valtteri Bottas — on the top two steps of the podium in each of the first four races.

Bottas led basically from start to finish last time out to win in Baku, but can he do so again in the Spanish Grand Prix? Hamilton has quite an impressive record in Barcelona and will be eager to improve upon it this weekend — even at the expense of his team-mate.

Talking Points

Mercedes simply untouchable

Mercedes’ start to the season has been simply remarkable. They picked up their fourth consecutive 1-2 finish to start the season in Azerbaijan, beating Williams’ old F1 record of three in a row back in 1992.

It should come as a surprise to no one that Hamilton is performing the way he is. But few could’ve predicted Bottas to be right there with his five-time world champion team-mate in terms of pace.

Aside from his two race wins, Bottas has also outdueled Hamilton in qualifying in each of the last two races. He succumbed to Hamilton fairly quickly in Shanghai, but he was able to hang on in Baku, and it was smooth sailing from there.

Coincidentally, Hamilton and Bottas were not only 1-2 in qualifying in last year’s Spanish GP, but they also finished in that same order.

And given their amazing form at the moment, the Spanish Grand Prix 2019 betting odds on them coming up with a similar performance in this year’s race will certainly be in their favour.

Ferrari’s big move

While Mercedes have been dominating at the top of the grid, Ferrari have failed to keep pace. And when they have shown brief glimpses of what they’re capable of — like with Charles Leclerc in Bahrain — bad luck has gotten in the way.

On the bright side for the Prancing Horse, Sebastian Vettel has picked up back-to-back third-place finishes in China and Azerbaijan. Although, they still have some way to go to catch up to the two Mercedes cars.

Ferrari are expected to bring forward engine upgrade for Spanish Grand Prix

Ferrari motorhome in the paddock at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

But Barcelona could just be where Ferrari finally put things together. For one, it was where their SF90 looked so good during pre-season testing, which raised the optimism surrounding the team.

Moreover, Ferrari made some big Spanish Grand Prix 2019 news by bringing a planned engine upgrade forward a couple of races early as they look to close the ever-widening gap on Mercedes.

If Ferrari can just figure out their recent tyre issues, they might be able to deliver a performance more comparable to those pre-season tests.

History

Lewis Hamilton usually does well in just about any track, but Barcelona is right up there with the Chinese GP in terms of circuits he has consistently dominated. The Brit has won this race in three out of the last five years, which includes back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018.

Hamilton easily could have made it four wins out of five had it not been for his collision with team-mate Nico Rosberg back in 2016. Rosberg also owns the other non-Hamilton win of the last five years, which shows just how dominant Mercedes have been at this track.

Vettel doesn’t have nearly as impressive a track record in Barcelona as Hamilton, with just one win to his name (2011). However, the German does have a habit of finishing on the podium. He’s gone second or third four times in his career in Spain — the same number as Hamilton.

It should also be noted just how key qualifying will be in Barcelona. Of the 28 Grands Prix held on the circuit, 25 have been won by drivers starting from the front row of the grid. That’s the highest rate out of any track that’s held at least 10 races.

Hamilton has won pole in Barcelona in four of the last five years. Moreover, Mercedes have locked out the front row every year except one since 2013.

What are the odds?

To no one’s surprise, both Hamilton and Bottas lead the way in terms of having the best odds to win in Barcelona. us odds currently have Hamilton priced at 2.30 while Bottas is at 3.50. And given their current form coupled with recent history, it’ll be hard to bet on anyone other than those two to take the checkered flag.

However, the odds of the two Ferrari drivers — Vettel and Leclerc — are surprisingly close at 5.00, which seems to indicate that there is a decent amount of faith that Ferrari can legitimately score their first win of the season in Spain.

And for a driver with longer odds who could potentially cause a bit of a surprise in Spain, Sergio Perez might be a prime candidate. The Mexican has improved his position in every race to date this season, going from 13th to 10th to eighth all the way to sixth in Azerbaijan.

Perez finished fourth in the Spanish GP back in 2017 with Force India, and his 26.00 odds to break into one of those podium places is certainly intriguing.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Mercedes Make History In Dominant Azerbaijan Grand Prix Win

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019

Is there any stopping Mercedes? Based on the first four races of the season, it doesn’t seem like there is. Mercedes recorded yet another dominant one-two finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which had produced some unexpected results over the last couple of years.

Mercedes put a stop to that, though, as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton claimed their fourth one-two finish in four races — the most successful start to a season in F1 history.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 betting odds had Sebastian Vettel slightly ahead of Bottas to win the rice. But it was actually the Finnish Mercedes driver who returned to the top of the podium in Baku after Hamilton won the last two races. The reigning world champion Hamilton had to settle for second, while Vettel came in third.

Highlights of the game

By all accounts, Bottas is having a brilliant season. The Finn had gone toe-to-toe with Hamilton through the first three races of the year with a win in Australia as well as a couple of second-place finishes.

Bottas claimed his first pole position last time out in China. However, Hamilton quickly overtook him inside the first lap as he went on to yet another dominant win.

Bottas had the chance to redeem himself in Baku as he won pole for the second race running. Hamilton was right behind him, while Vettel was third. The other Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc, was all the way down in ninth after crashing in qualifying.

Ferrari young star Charles Leclerc has finished top five in the recently-held Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc prepares ahead of the most-awaited Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Once again, Hamilton got off to a terrific start as he targeted top spot. However, there would be no repeat of Shanghai as Bottas just about held onto the lead this time around.

While Bottas built up his lead on Hamilton at the top, Leclerc quickly worked his way up the order and went up to fifth within lap eight. The Monegasque then set his sights for Max Verstappen in fourth, which he takes on the following lap.

That left Leclerc behind his team-mate Vettel, who has noticeably gotten the preferential treatment from the team thus far this season. But there would be no drama between the two Ferrari drivers — for the time being at least — as Vettel made a pit stop and ceded third to Leclerc.

Leclerc was soon in the lead a few laps later, but that’s after the likes of Bottas and Hamilton also made their way to the pits. Still, the Ferrari driver was setting a strong pace while he was out in front as he drove similarly to his strong performance in Bahrain.

But the two Mercedes eventually closed the gap on Leclerc, who finally ceded the lead on lap 33. And with Leclerc yet to pit, Vettel is also allowed to pass his team-mate one lap later.

Leclerc finally entered the pit in lap 35 to change his tyres. However, the tyre gamble didn’t pay off as he lost a lot of time. He had to return to the pits to change tyres in lap 48 to try and salvage what he can.

The move worked as Leclerc made Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 highlights by setting the fastest lap in the last lap of the race. However, it’s Bottas who takes the checkered flag without much of a fight from Hamilton, who has to settle for second.

Key Statistics

Mercedes’ four consecutive one-two finishes to start the season surpasses Williams’ record of three, which they set in the 1992 season.

Aside from that impressive streak of one-two finishes, Bottas and Hamilton have also now finished 16-straight races, the joint longest current streak on the grid.

Mercedes become the first two-time winning constructor in the three-year history of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Although, they technically have three wins in Baku after Nico Rosberg won the European GP held at the track in 2016.

Meanwhile, Vettel — who finished third — kept alive his streak of finishing in the top four in four races in Baku.

What’s next?

Mercedes will get their chance to make it five one-two finishes in a row in the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12. And coincidentally enough, Hamilton and Bottas had a one-two finish in Barcelona last year.

Lewis Hamilton is a three-time Spanish Grand Prix winner in his career and is a back-to-back winner in each of the last two years. Don’t be the least bit surprised if Hamilton is once again the favourite to win according to us odds.

Overall, Mercedes have won four of the last five editions of the Spanish GP.

 

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Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Are More Surprises in Store in Baku?

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019

After three races, the Formula One season has followed a familiar finish with Mercedes drivers occupying the top two steps on the podium. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton will head to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the strength of back-to-back wins at Bahrain and China, with teammate Valtteri Bottas right behind him.

Meanwhile, Ferrari have been unable to get going this season. And when they have performed well — like in Bahrain — bad luck cost them a higher place on the podium.

The Prancing Horse and the rest of the field will have another chance to put an end to Mercedes’ run of dominance in Baku, which has produced its fair share of fireworks in its first three years on the F1 calendar.

Talking Points

Will Mercedes’ perfect run continue?

Mercedes couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. The defending constructor’s champions have come out of the gate in impressive form as they’ve picked up three one-two finishes in the first three races of the year.

Everyone knew that Lewis Hamilton would once again be right there in the hunt for the world championship, but few anticipated the leap that Valtteri Bottas would make. The Finn has been absolutely fabulous as he’s given his team-mate a run for his money early in the campaign.

Aside from winning the opening race of the season in Australia, Bottas also claimed pole in China over his team-mate. However, Hamilton put Bottas back in his place as he quickly overtook his team-mate and eventually strolled to another victory in Shanghai.

Despite the current Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 odds, Mercedes’ run of dominance must surely come to an end at some point, though. And based on recent history, Baku might be the best place for another team to finally snap Mercedes’ winning streak.

Ferrari team orders

Ferrari have a lot of work to do in order to match the brilliant start Mercedes have had to the season. They’ve picked up just two podium finishes — both third place — in three races, with Charles Leclerc in Bahrain and Sebastian Vettel in China.

Sebastian Vettel is 31 points behind Lewis Hamilton ahead of Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel chats with his teammate Charles Leclerc

However, a big factor in Vettel achieving that finish was due to team orders for Leclerc to allow the German to overtake him in Shanghai. The tactic backfired on Ferrari, though, as Vettel was unable to catch up with the two Mercedes and Leclerc fell to fifth.

It’s looking clear through the first few races that Ferrari are giving priority to Vettel over Leclerc. This despite the young Monegasque’s outstanding drive in Bahrain, which was marred by an engine problem that likely cost him his first-ever grand prix win.

If Ferrari continue to give Leclerc orders to step aside for his team-mate in Baku, it will only intensify the unrest within the Scuderia camp.

History

This will be the fourth time that Azerbaijan will host a Formula One race. The first race was held in 2016 when the Baku City Circuit hosted the European Grand Prix. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix only became official in 2017.

Mercedes has won two of the three races in Baku. Nico Rosberg was victorious in 2016, while Lewis Hamilton will enter this race as the defending champion after winning in 2018. In between, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull pulled off a big surprise to win the 2017 edition.

Despite only being on the F1 calendar for a couple of years, Azerbaijan has quickly established itself as a race where wild things can happen.

In 2017, the race saw several crashes, three safety cars, and the infamous “road rage” controversy when Vettel was penalised for deliberately driving into Hamilton.

The following year was also filled with incident as Bottas was denied a win with three laps to go due to a punctured tyre, while pole-sitter Vettel was caught out by a late safety car. It also saw Red Bull team-mates Max Verstappen and Ricciardo collide with each other after going close for much of the race.

If the Azerbaijan 2019 Grand Prix highlights could somehow top even those crazy events, it would be quite something.

What are the odds?

To the surprise of no one, Hamilton is once again favoured to win in Azerbaijan, which would be his third consecutive win this season. The Brit is priced at 2.70 to claim the checkered flag, while Vettel has the next best us odds at 3.00. That’s somewhat surprising given the German’s lack of form on his SF90 this season.

Bottas and Leclerc are right behind their world champion team-mates with both priced at 4.00. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen at 14.00 is the only other driver with odds to win below 100. Even Ricciardo, who is one of three drivers to be victorious on this track, is priced at an astronomical 501.00.

And if there’s a race to bet on a long shot to finish in the top 3, it’s this one. The last two races have seen Lance Stroll of Williams and Sergio Perez of Force India claim third.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Hamilton Continues Chinese Grand Prix Domination

Chinese Grand Prix 2019

Mercedes’ domination of the young Formula 1 season continues. Lewis Hamilton took the checkered flag for the second successive race in the Chinese Grand Prix, which was the historic 1,000th F1 race. Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas took second to make it another Mercedes one-two finish.

Sebastian Vettel finished third to claim his first podium finish of the season. However, it came at the expense of his team-mate, Charles Leclerc.

After bad luck robbed him of victory in Bahrain, Leclerc might have a legitimate gripe about his team’s orders to let his team-mate pass, which in turn cost the junior Ferrari driver a shot at a top-four finish.

That growing team drama turned out to be one of the most interesting storylines in what was a relatively uneventful race, which Hamilton and Mercedes dominated from start to finish.

Highlights of the game

For the second time this season, Bottas got the better of his team-mate in qualifying as he won the seventh pole of his career. And just behind the two Mercedes drivers in the second row of the grid were the Ferraris of Vettel and Leclerc.

However, there would be no repeat of Bottas’ win in Australia as his advantage over Hamilton did not last long. It took the reigning world champion just a few turns to overtake his team-mate and take command of the lead. Meanwhile, Leclerc did the same with his Ferrari mate Vettel.

By lap 10, Hamilton had already built up quite a sizable lead on the two Prancing Horses. It was at this stage in the race that Ferrari told Leclerc, who was struggling to keep pace with the Mercedes drivers, to allow Vettel to pass him for third.

Leclerc sounded off on his displeasure with the team’s instructions through the radio, but he did what he was told.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has paved the way for Sebastian Vettel to seal the third spot in the Chinese Grand Prix

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc looks all geared up during the first practice session of the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit

But despite gaining the place, the four-time world champion also couldn’t close the gap on Hamilton, who looked like he was going to stroll to yet another win in Shanghai.

And after Vettel made a pit stop in lap 19, he got into a heated battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for third place. But despite the Dutch driver’s best efforts, Vettel was just about able to hold him off.

However, Verstappen was able to get out ahead of the other Ferrari after Leclerc made his pit stop on lap 23. After driving a brilliant race in Bahrain, it simply wasn’t going Leclerc’s way in Shanghai.

Up at the top, Bottas did his best to make it interesting; he had closed the gap on Hamilton to under two seconds by lap 26. As it turned out, though, this was as close as it was going to get between the two Mercedes drivers.

Meanwhile, Leclerc finally began to gain on Verstappen for fourth. After a series of second pits, Leclerc resumes his chase of Verstappen while the top three — Hamilton, Bottas, and Vettel — comfortably ahead at the front.

However, the Ferrari driver was ultimately unable to reclaim fourth — a place that could have been his had it not been for the team’s instructions to allow Vettel to pass him.

Meanwhile, the front three basically held steady for the remainder of the race as Hamilton took home another checkered flag in China.

Key statistics

Most Chinese Grand Prix 2019 predictions tipped Hamilton to continue his dominance in Shanghai, and he succeeded. He has now won this race six times in its 16-year history.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have been the winning constructor in China in five out of the last six years.

Aside from winning the 1,000th ever Formula 1 race, Hamilton also made a bit of history by becoming the second driver in F1 history after Michael Schumacher to lead 4,000 laps.

With the Chinese Grand Prix 2019 results now in the books, Hamilton has now jumped back up ahead of his team-mate Bottas in the driver’s championship. The Brit has 68 points, six ahead of the Finn.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have a commanding lead over Ferrari in the constructor’s championship with 130 points to the Scuderia’s 73.

What’s next?

The next stop on the Formula 1 calendar is Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 28. Hamilton is the defending champion of that race as he edged out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen last year.

With the pressure continuing to mount on Ferrari for failing to match Mercedes through the first three races, the Prancing Horse will need to pick up the pace in Baku.

While us Formula 1 fans didn’t get a terribly exciting race in Shanghai as Mercedes dominated, perhaps Azerbaijan can provide more action and intensity.

 

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Leclerc, Ferrari So Unlucky in Bahrain Grand Prix

Bahrain Grand Prix 2019

It’s now two one-two finishes in two races this season for Mercedes. Defending champion Lewis Hamilton claimed his first checkered flag of the year while team-mate Valtteri Bottas — who won in Australia — came in second in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

But don’t be fooled; Mercedes were far from dominant in the desert. The outcome in Bahrain could have been much different if not for the incredibly bad luck that befell Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the final few laps.

The young Ferrari driver was in charge for much of the race and was looking set for his first-ever grand prix win. But an ill-fated engine failure meant that those who wagered on Leclerc’s Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 betting odds to win were left empty-handed.

Highlights of the game

After a somewhat disappointing showing in Australia, things seemed like were looking up for Ferrari in Bahrain. It appeared as if the “corrections” they made after Melbourne were paying off in qualifying as Charles Leclerc grabbed pole position — the first of his career.

Meanwhile, his Ferrari team-mate– a four-time winner in Bahrain, including the past two years in a row — took second spot as the two Mercedes drivers were relegated to the second row on the grid.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel made a mistake caused him not to defend the Baharain Grand Prix

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel steers his car during the Baharain Grand Prix

However, Leclerc immediately lost the lead to Vettel as he quickly fell down to third in just the first lap. But he managed to overtake Bottas on the very next lap to re-establish a Ferrari one-two.

And it wasn’t long before Leclerc completely reclaimed the lead from Vettel in lap 6. And once he got back top spot, he proceeded to build up a comfortable lead out in front of the pack.

Meanwhile, Vettel was locked in a gripping battle for second with Hamilton. The Ferrari driver was doing his best to keep the champion at bay. But unfortunately, the German’s resistance finally gave out in lap 39 as he spun while duelling with Hamilton in what was easily one of the top Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 highlights.

And things went from bad to worse for Vettel as he lost his front wing down the back straight. Vettel was forced to pit once again, all but ending his chances of a third successive victory.

The bad luck did not end there for Ferrari, though. With just 10 laps to go, Leclerc suddenly reports that there’s a problem with his engine and begins to lose pace.

Leclerc’s engine troubles opened the door for Hamilton, who quickly closed the gap and eventually overtook the unlucky Ferrari driver for the lead on lap 48. Bottas also does the same as Leclerc sadly limped through the final few laps.

Leclerc was at least still able to hang on for a podium finish due to a safety car following Renault’s double retirement.

After the race, Hamilton and Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff both heaped praise on Leclerc for his excellent performance, which was marred by bad luck. But that’s just scant consolation for a fantastic drive that really should have resulted in Leclerc’s first career F1 victory.

Key statistics

For the second race in a row, Sebastian Vettel’s winning streak at a race came to an end. Much like the Australian GP, the German had won each of the past two Bahrain Grands Prix.

But Vettel once again failed to complete the hat-trick, which also keeps up the fact that no driver has won in Bahrain for three consecutive years.

Meanwhile, Hamilton — who came into the race as the favourite to win according to us odds — picked up his third career victory in Bahrain and his first since 2015. Hamilton has now finished in the podium in each of his last five races in Bahrain.

After just two races, Mercedes have a commanding lead atop the constructor’s standings with 87 points; Ferrari are a distant second with 48.

What’s next?

Up next on the Formula 1 calendar is the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix on April 14. Ferrari made some significant strides in terms of performance following Australia, and they will look to do so again in Shanghai.

The Scuderia’s pace on the straights in Bahrain was particularly eye-catching. And with the Shanghai track having the longest straight on the calendar, that could play to Ferrari’s advantage.

However, Hamilton has dominated China through the years. He’s claimed a record five wins at the Shanghai International Circuit and has won in three of the last five years.

And as Bahrain showed, Ferrari will also need a bit of luck to go their way in order to get their 2019 season up and running.

 

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Bahrain Grand Prix 2019: Ferrari Need To Get Their Act Together

Bahrain Grand Prix 2019

The new Formula 1 season began with quite a bang in Australia as Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate and defending world champion Lewis Hamilton to grab the impressive win.

We sort of had a sense that Bottas would fare well in Melbourne, but he exceeded the podium expectation we had as he went on a brilliant drive.

It’s now off to the Bahrain Grand Prix, where Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari have historically been the dominant team in the desert. However, the Scuderia should still expect a stiff challenge from the two Mercedes drivers, as well as others on the grid.

Let’s take a quick look at the latest Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 updates ahead of the second race of the young F1 season.

Talking Points

Vettel and Ferrari look to bounce back

Vettel didn’t have the start to the season that he was looking for in Melbourne. The German could not match the pace of either Mercedes driver; he couldn’t even crack a podium finish after he was passed for third by Max Verstappen.

But the Scuderia are eager to bounce back in Bahrain, a track where they’ve tasted a lot of success over the years. Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says the team has made “corrections” to the problems which led to their disappointing showing in Australia, which sounds encouraging.

Moreover, Vettel is simply a master when it comes to Bahrain. No driver on the grid has more career victories in Bahrain than Vettel’s four, which includes back-to-back wins for Ferrari in each of the past two years. Of course, he was also a back-to-back winner in Australia heading into this year’s race and wasn’t close to making it a hat-trick.

Still, things look to be set up well for Vettel and Ferrari to have a much better time of it in Bahrain than they did in Melbourne. But if they don’t improve their results soon, the pressure will only continue to pile on the Prancing Horse.

Hamilton facing competition

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton hopes to bounce back and win in the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix 2019

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are all smiles in front of the press in the Australian Grand Prix 2019

After all of Hamilton’s hard work to claim pole position in Melbourne, it took all of one turn for his teammate Bottas to overtake the world champion and run away with the race.

Hamilton was unable to mount a serious challenge on Bottas, but it wasn’t necessarily his fault. It was later revealed that the floor of Hamilton’s car was damaged, which was the cause of his struggles.

Chances are that that bad luck won’t strike twice for the champ in back-to-back weeks. And if Hamilton’s car is in fine shape, he’s got as good a shot as any to end Vettel’s recent dominance in Bahrain.

Hamilton hasn’t been quite as dominant in Bahrain as he has been in other tracks. But does hold two career victories at the track, and after last week’s disappointment, he will be fully motivated to add a third.

As for Bottas, he has an impressive record in Bahrain; he’s finished in the podium in each of his first two races there for Mercedes. He showed in Australia just how capable he is of crashing the Hamilton-Vettel party, so a repeat performance shouldn’t be completely ruled out.

History

As mentioned earlier, Vettel has been simply dominant in Sakhir. He’s won four times in all, including the last two years for Ferrari. Bottas made a strong push to chase Vettel down in the last few laps of last year’s race, but the German was able to hold on for the win.

However, history is not on Vettel’s side heading into this year’s race since no one has ever won in Bahrain three years in a row. Four drivers — Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, and Vettel (twice) — have gone back-to-back in Bahrain, but all four have fallen short of the hat-trick.

What are the odds?

Despite his impressive track record in Bahrain, Vettel is surprisingly not among the top favourites to take the checkered flag according to us odds. Vettel is only priced at 3.70 to win his third race in a row in Bahrain.

Leading the pack are the two Mercedes drivers in Hamilton at 2.20 and Bottas at 3.20. Despite failing to win in Australia, the Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 betting odds are still high on the defending champ’s chances. And based on his track record, there’s every reason to keep faith in the Brit.

Meanwhile, don’t sleep on the Red Bull pair of Verstappen and Pierre Gasly in Bahrain. Verstappen made a surprise trip to the podium in Melbourne last time out and is priced at 1.80 to grab a top-three finish again. Meanwhile, Gasly had his best result of last season in Bahrain as he finished fourth with Toro Rosso. He’s priced at 1.30 to go one place closer and finish in the podium.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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A Hot Start in Australia: A New-Look Formula 1 Will Heat Melbourne Up

Australian Grand Prix 2019

It’s been a long time since we saw any high-speed racing action, so it’s definitely a great feeling for many motorsport fans to finally see the return of the Formula 1 season this weekend. The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit will once again roar to life as twenty drivers battle for the right to be called the fastest.

However, the return of the motorsport league we all know and love comes with several changes. While the usual suspects are still the favourites to win the competition, a reshuffle has changed the way the entire grid will look and feel.

Depending on which team or driver your support, you may see your chances improve or worsen during the preseason. We still don’t know what will happen until the chequered flag is waved, though, so it’s best to reconsider your Formula 1 2019 predictions as we take a look at the current F1 landscape.

Talking Points

Will this finally be Vettel’s year?

One of the most prevalent storylines of this year is Sebastian Vettel and his chase for another Formula 1 championship.

Many fans will look at the 2018 season and see a Ferrari team that went toe-to-toe with Mercedes in the early half of the season. Unfortunately, they faltered in the latter stages and had to bitterly look on as Lewis Hamilton and the Silver Arrows added another world championship under their belt.

The comedy of errors that plagued the Prancing Horse was not only limited to crashes and mechanical troubles. They didn’t give their star German the support they could have provided to improve his chances. Kimi Raikkonen was also a huge part of the problem for Vettel, and it was evident on the race track as the Flying Finn openly challenged team orders at times.

Fortunately for Vettel, things are looking better for the Scuderia. Mattia Binotto is the new team principal, an exciting upstart in Charles Leclerc is now the team’s second driver, and their machines outpaced their rivals in pre-season testing.

Vettel is confident of the team’s chances moving forward. Their shot at the title will now be up to them not messing up their races throughout the season.

Hamilton will be in for a tough test

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is focused ahead of the Australian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton poses for a photo during an Australian Grand Prix pre-weekend event

Lewis Hamilton will always be a favourite among the many us tips made at this point of the season. The Brit has proven himself as a winner and will surely be able to compete with Ferrari and any other racing team.

The Mercedes star overturned a subpar start to 2018 and pulled off a series of wins that helped him win the Driver’s Championship in Mexico. He will be coming to this season as the most accomplished driver in the grid; he also knows that there will be a huge target on his back in every single race.

Hamilton should have enough to help with the pressure, though. Valtteri Bottas has shown a lot of chemistry with his co-driver, and we can expect more fantastic work from the two of them. Mercedes have also made structural changes in their chain of command to help the team perform better.

The Brit will always be a fast one on the tracks, and they will need something to catch off track in Melbourne.

Same faces, different places

Vettel and Hamilton may dominate a lot of Formula 1 2019 news circles, but they aren’t the only ones that have grabbed the attention. There are a number of stories that will shape how the season pans out.

The first race of the season will start on a somber note as long-time FIA race director Charlie Whiting passed away three days before the race began. There will most likely be a tribute for Whiting before the race begins.

A familiar name returns to the Formula 1 scene as Alfa Rome take Sauber’s place. There was also quite a shuffle as every team sans Mercedes and Haas made changes to their line-ups. The most notable swaps were Ricciardo’s move to Renault and Raikkonen becoming the lead driver at Alfa Romeo.

Ricciardo’s departure also gives Max Verstappen the keys to the kingdom that is Red Bull. This team is still far from catching up to the leaders, but they may reach places with Verstappen being the clear No 1 driver.

History

Of the 20 drivers participating in the starting grid, only three men have won in Melbourne. Raikkonen won twice in 2007 and 2013; Hamilton took the 2008 and 2015 races while Vettel finished first in the 2011, 2017, and 2018 races.

The 2018 race was an interesting spectacle in itself. Hamilton was actually ahead for much of the race, but a bit of luck saw Vettel make a quick pit stop that eventually helped him stay ahead of Hamilton and win the race. We may see a similar situation here, but the playing field is more even due to the roster changes.

What are the odds?

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel remains determined to challenge Lewis Hamilton in this year's Formula 1 season

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in action during the Formula 1 pre-season testing session at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack

The usual suspects are booked as favourites to finish at the top of the podium, but there’s one name that is surprisingly included at the top.

Leclerc is tipped at 3.50 to win this race, and Hamilton and Vettel — who are both booked at 2.50 — are the only other drivers to have odds lower than the former Sauber driver. It will be intriguing to see how the Frenchman performs with Ferrari’s powerful engine.

Verstappen is the fourth-favourite to win at 11.00, and the ever-dependable Bottas is up at 13.00. However, I believe that Bottas should have what it takes to finish third in the podium and make life a living hell for Vettel.

Due to Ricciardo’s risky move to Renault, he dropped down to 201.00. Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly is upgraded to 41.00. Whether Red Bull manage to keep it up with the other two is up in the air, though: Honda-powered cars have been plagued by reliability issues, and it will be curious to see how they handle the engine throughout the season.

 

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Mexican Grand Prix 2018: Fourth Place and a Reason to Celebrate for Lewis Hamilton

Mexican Grand Prix 2018

Fourth place—and the 12 points that go with it—is all what Lewis Hamilton needed to secure the World Drivers’ Champions for the fifth time in his career.

The Mercedes star described his performance in the Mexican Grand Prix 2018 as “horrible” after producing his worst result since the Austrian Grand Prix. However, while he may not be happy with fourth place, the trophy is what matters at the end of the day.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the crown at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with a scintillating display, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second and more disappointment despite his effort to keep the title fight alive.

Highlights of the game

Horrible race, great result

Hamilton needed to finish at least seventh in order to clinch the title, and he achieved both despite struggling for the most part of the race.

Starting third from the grid, Hamilton battled with tyre wear and vibration throughout. He was the first one to take a pit stop, on Lap 12, to change to supersoft tyres, but the tyre problem continued to hound him as he found himself in trouble again midway through the contest

The Brit driver climbed up to second, but he held the spot for only a quarter of the race. Vettel surpassed him on Lap 39—no thanks to his tyres—and Hamilton was hammered more misery when he locked up on turn one and headed to the grass on Lap 47.

Fortunately, he was able to recover and returned to the track, though on fourth and behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Hamilton eventually pitted and rejoined the race in sixth with 24 laps to go. He moved up to fifth and gained some breathing space when his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, changed to fresher tyres. After that, he benefitted from a Ricciardo retirement to move to fourth en route to the title.

“The race itself today was pretty horrible. I got a great start and was really working my way up, but then we were really struggling with the tyres, both Valtteri and I. I was just trying to hold on and bring the car home,” Hamilton said via ESPN after the race.

Verstappen dominates, Vettel tries

Max Verstappen has thrashed Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez to seal the Mexican Grand Prix 2018 silverware

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen lifts his Mexican Grand Prix 2018 trophy alongside second placer Sebastian Vettel

While Hamilton won the season, Verstappen ensured that it wouldn’t be the double victory that the Mercedes driver was aiming for.

The Mexican Grand Prix 2018 odds at us pointed to a Verstappen win, and the 21-year-old more than lived up to expectations.

The Dutchman took the lead right into turn one of the opening lap, overtaking his Red Bull teammate Ricciardo who was in pole position. Verstappen never looked back after that and was barely threatened in the race.

Verstappen was ahead of Hamilton by 10 seconds on Lap 26, and his lead over the chasers got only bigger as the race progressed.

Put simply, there wasn’t much of a battle up front, as Verstappen ended the race with a 17-second lead over the second-placer.

Vettel—fourth from the starting lane—knew that the only way to keep his slim title chances alive is with a victory in Mexico, and he undoubtedly entered the race with the determination to win.

The German ace got a much-needed break when Ricciardo retired due to engine failure with 10 laps to go. He seized the second spot after the incident, but it was a little too late as Verstappen was already ahead by 15 seconds at that point.

Vettel finished second while his Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, grabbed third. Mercedes’ Bottas, on the other hand, settled for fifth.

Key statistics

Historic feat

Hamilton is now a five-time world champion, allowing him to surpass F1 legend Alain Prost and Vettel who were previously tied with him with four.

The 33-year-old also equalled the great Juan Manuel Fangio. He is only two behind the record of Michael Schumacher.

Even more remarkable, this victory only shows Hamilton’s dominance over the past five years. He has now won four titles in the last five seasons, with then-Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg the only one breaking his streak with a surprise run in 2016.

Cursed car

While Hamilton’s win took the headlines of Mexican Grand Prix 2018 news, Ricciardo’s unfortunate finish also received some spotlight.

Daniel Ricciardo feels upset after failing to finish the Mexican Grand Prix 2018

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo in action during the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix

As mentioned, the Australian driver received another “Did Not Finish” tag after an engine failure forced him to retire. Even more frustrating was the fact that he is on pace for a podium finish with just a few laps left in the race.

It was his eighth retirement in 19 races this season, and after this incident, it’s no wonder why he chose to leave the team.

Battle of the constructors

Back-to-back one-two finishes in the Russian Grand Prix and Japanese Grand Prix put Mercedes well ahead in the Constructors’ championship. However, their four-five finish in Mexico, coupled with Ferrari’s second and third, give the Scuderia a chance to surpass them in the final two races this November.

Only 55 points separate the two teams, and Ferrari can spoil the Mercedes party by winning the top two spots in the remaining contests and preventing the Silver Arrows from making it to the podium.

What’s next?

Up next is the Brazilian Grand Prix in mid-November followed by the final race in Abu Dhabi a week before December.

As cited, the battle for the constructors and the other standings is the only thing left to play for, though that should still make the final races interesting.

 

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Mexican Grand Prix: The Season is Hamilton’s to Lose!

Mexican Grand Prix 2018

There’s no reason for Lewis Hamilton to lose the Formula 1 season, does he?

The Briton is on pace to win the Drivers’ Championship after impressing through the second half of the Formula 1 calendar. He only needs a good result in the Mexican Grand Prix to secure his spot as the victor and race in the remaining races without any issues.

However, I don’t think the rest of the chasing pack will allow him much comfort. Sebastian Vettel is pushing himself and his car to the limit to salvage his season and set up a climactic final duel at Abu Dhabi. Max Verstappen dropped the gauntlet on the two leading racers in the manner only a brazen young star like him could. There’s also no reason to believe that the rest of the 17 racers in the starting grid will be driving to get some points for their own campaigns and personal objectives.

If Hamilton bottles the job here, his failure will be the biggest Mexican Grand Prix 2018 news on Monday. However, he will be the toast of the town if he seals the deal here!

This season is Hamilton’s to lose, and I doubt the Briton would like it any other way.

Talking Points

Hamilton is most likely hitting himself on the head after a poor gamble on his tyre strategy delayed his championship coronation at the Circuit of the Americas. We cannot take away from Raikkonen’s brilliant US Grand Prix, of course, but Hamilton had more than enough opportunities to take home the bacon in front of an adoring United States crowd.

It’s fortunate for him that Vettel — his long-standing rival for the title — finished behind him and wasn’t able to gain ground on his chase. Hamilton knows that he has a sure-fire chance to win at Mexico, and he is determined to end the season at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“If I were sitting at home, making toast for breakfast and just watching the races on TV, maybe I would want the title chase to go right through to the end,” Hamilton said before practice. “But I am not at home, and when you are actually living in the situation, you just want to get it done.”

Fortunately for him, he is saved by the brilliant run of victories he secured during the second half of the season. His last win, a dominant display in Suzuka, gave him breathing room to finish the season with at least a seventh-place finish in Mexico City.

This situation isn’t only due to Hamilton performing to his usual standards. The comedy of errors displayed by Sebastian Vettel is also key to the Briton’s impending 2018 triumph.

The German received a lot of criticism with the way he bottled his chances. While his peers defended him from the F1 press’ consistent jabs, he took responsibility for his howlers. He assessed the criticisms hurled at him as “fair” and will surely do everything he can in Mexico to keep his hopes alive.

Max Verstappen looks to make a case for himself as he aims for a podium finish in the Mexican Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen during his practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix

If you think that there wouldn’t be any drama left of the season, you will be in for a surprise. Max Verstappen enjoyed a good run of form over the past few races and is determined to make the last races of the season all about him.

The young Dutchman threw down the gauntlet to the two leading drivers and challenged them for the Mexican Grand Prix crown after pulling off such an impressive climb from 18th to second in Texas last time out.

Verstappen, who finished top of the pack during practice, will be bringing a fun and brazen charm that the monotonous Hamilton-Vettel storyline sorely lacks. If the Dutchman does take the pole by the race’s start, we will have an interesting race in our hands.

History

Hamilton is obviously the big favourite to win the race and the season. The Briton’s red-hot form as of late is hard to deny, and he doesn’t tend to bottle his opportunities. Moreover, he won the 2016 race after starting at the pole.

However, the Briton might not be especially looking to win it all here. After all, he only needs to finish seventh in order to secure his fifth Formula 1 title. He might just look to finish within the top seven and play a safe approach ahead of this game.

Moreover, Verstappen has a lot of momentum coming into this race. Not only did he finish a brilliant race in America, but he also won the 2017 race while starting in second. He has also shown a tendency to perform brilliantly late in the season over the past couple of years.

What are the odds?

A quick look at the Mexican Grand Prix 2018 odds at leading online bookies like us point to Verstappen as the big winner at 2.00 outright. Everyone is captivated by the Dutchman’s braggadocio, and I cannot blame you for it.

Sebastian Vettel is still looking to dethrone Lewis Hamilton as he aims to win the Mexican Grand Prix

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel talks to his team before the Japanese Grand Prix

If you think Vettel can put on a chase, he has outright odds of 4.00. Hamilton has the same odds: he isn’t looking to win, after all.

However, it wouldn’t be bad to put your money on a local hero. Sergio Perez just loves racing in front of his home fans, and there’s no reason to believe that he will not perform here. If you believe that the Mexican can take the top spot, go for an ultra-risky punt and choose him for 301.00 outright.

 

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