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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US Grand Prix 2018: Fantastic Win for Kimi Raikkonen as Lewis Hamilton Flops

US Grand Prix 2018

Ferrari certainly know how to spoil a party…even just for a brief period of time.

What could have been a title-clinching win for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton at the US Grand Prix 2018 burst like a bubble as the Scuderia—behind surprise winner Kimi Raikkonen—took the crown at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.

Raikkonen, who has worked behind the shadow of teammate Sebastian Vettel over the last four years, hoarded the spotlight this time after denying Hamilton the victory and making the Brit driver wait for his fifth world championship.

Mercedes would rue their failure to close out the season in a tournament that Hamilton dominated in the past four seasons. However, they have no one to blame but themselves after their tyre strategy backfired late in the race.

Highlights of the game

Two-Stop vs. One-Stop makes the difference

Tyre strategy was the story of the game for Mercedes and Ferrari. To put it simply, Mercedes opted for a two-stop strategy while Ferrari chose to pit just once—and that made the difference in what was a close race up front.

Hamilton started from pole position and was expected to dominate in the circuit where he has won four consecutive titles since 2014. Nonetheless, Raikkonen had other plans and showed what he got, overtaking the British star right off the first turn to take the lead.

Raikkonen and Hamilton remained neck and neck against each other, but Mercedes and their ace driver seemed to have positioned themselves well when they decided to pit Hamilton on Lap 11 under a virtual safety car condition.

Hamilton saved at least 10 seconds with the move, and it didn’t take long before he cut Raikkonen’s lead. The Mercedes star was less than a second behind the Finn driver on Lap 19, and so when Raikkonen changed his tyres two laps later, Hamilton found himself leading the race again.

While Mercedes’ strategy appeared to pay huge dividends, it became clear that they needed to pit Hamilton again.

Lewis Hamilton failed to convert another outstanding pole position following his US Grand Prix 2018 defeat

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton during the US Grand Prix 2018 auto race at the Circuit of the Americas

Hamilton was ahead of Raikkonen by 16 seconds midway through the race, but the 39-year-old veteran slowly cut the deficit as Hamilton’s pace continue to decrease, no thanks to the wear and tear on his tyres.

Hamilton was forced to change tyres again on Lap 37, and that was the opportunity Raikkonen was waiting for in order to take the lead. The 33-year-old Hamilton came out fourth, ahead of title rival Vettel and behind Raikkonen, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas allowed Hamilton to bypass him, setting up a tight race with 16 laps to go in the contest. However, Hamilton’s effort was not enough as he failed to overtake the two leaders and ended up third.

Vettel managed to move up to fourth after an error from Bottas on the penultimate lap. The German ace, though, never had a chance to win the tournament after dropping all the way down to 15th after a clash with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in the opening frame.

Surprising disqualifications

The drama wasn’t all in the race, though. In a surprising turn of events, Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen were both disqualified in the contest after some solid effort that landed them the eighth and ninth place, respectively.

According to the latest US Grand Prix 2018 news, the two were stripped off their positions and the points that go along with it after race officials discovered fuel use irregularities.

The official Formula 1 website reported that Ocon’s car ” had exceeded the fuel mass flow limit of 100kg/hr on the opening lap of the race.” Meanwhile, Magnussen’s car “was found to have used more than the maximum 105kg of fuel allowed during the race.”

Key statistics

The pre-race US Grand Prix 2018 odds at us put Raikkonen as the fifth likely winner, so his victory was undoubtedly surprising.

Nevertheless, it sure didn’t come easy for the so-called Iceman. Only 1.3 seconds separate Raikkonen from second-placed Verstappen. Moreover, Hamilton finished just 2.3 seconds behind the race leader, making for a tight battle in the closing stages.

It is now the second-closest race this year, only behind the Bahrain Grand Prix that saw Vettel finish ahead Bottas by less than one second.

With the results, Hamilton now leads Vettel by 70 points and needs just five points in the last three races to defend his world drivers’ championship title.

On the other hand, Ferrari were able to reduce Mercedes’ lead at the top of the constructor standings to just 66 points. The Silver Arrows were up 78 after the Japanese Grand Prix, but the first and fourth-place finish at Austin ensured the team they still have a fighting chance.

What’s next?

Sebastian Vettel looking frustrated with his standing in the US Grand Prix 2018

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel looks at the results from the final practice session of US Grand Prix 2018

It’s the Mexican Grand Prix later this month, and Mercedes will have their fingers crossed in the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after their relatively poor performance in the circuit last year.

Hamilton and Bottas finished third and fourth in the 2017 edition of the race as Vettel took the chequered flag. Fortunately for Mercedes, they only need Hamilton to finish at least seventh to end the title fight.

 

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US Grand Prix 2018: Vettel Needs to Catch Up Now!

US Grand Prix 2018

There are only four races left in the Formula 1 season. All of the remaining tracks in the season are challenging courses that will test the cars not only in their horsepower but as well as in their overall tuning. Tyre strategies and race-day set-ups can mean milliseconds lost or gained, and every bit of improvement counts at the business end of the season.

This is especially true if we consider the fact that fifty points separate the top two drivers ahead of the US Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton is slated to win it all again in the United States if everything goes well, and that bit of US Grand Prix 2018 news probably does not sit well with Sebastian Vettel.

Everyone in Scuderia Ferrari knows that finishing with anything but first officially ends their German ace’s championship hopes. They have to make sure Vettel gets the pole, get every pit stop right and employ a superb tactic to beat Hamilton to first place if they want to stop the Briton’s coronation in Texas.

However, they also know that achieving all of those is easier said than done. As much as Formula 1 is a highly competitive tournament wherein even the most minute detail is accounted for, a bit of chaos and bad luck could see the two-horse race being all the more competitive.

Talking Points

There is much hype surrounding Hamilton after winning at Suzuka. The Briton is now 67 points ahead of his German rival and now only needs nine more points to mathematically secure the 2018 Drivers’ Championship. Given the form that Hamilton is in and the state of the rest of the chasing pack, those points seem more of a formality than a challenge.

It has been a wonderful year for Hamilton, and it seems like the worries he had when it came to competing early the in the year is a distant memory. Every challenge thrown his way was met with a hard-nosed Hamilton just keeping his head down and driving through it. Given the way that he cruised through Suzuka, there’s no doubt that he will be leading the pack once more at the Circuit of the Americas.

Lewis Hamilton looks to secure his top spot this F1 season as he prepares to win the US Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton celebrates with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas during the end of the Japanese Grand Prix

While Hamilton’s driving is the main reason for his success, the team has also been more than supportive to the driver. Valtteri Bottas is a very accommodating team-mate and is doing his job extremely well as a No2 driver. The additional downforce and improvements the Mercedes engineers introduced to their cars can also be credited for his success.

On the red end of the pit lane, Vettel is wallowing in regret. His form crashed alongside his car at the German Grand Prix, and he spent the rest of the season trying to recapture the early-season form that saw him rise to the top during the early stages of the season.

He himself admitted that he and the team should have done better to mount a fierce battle with Hamilton and Mercedes. He ceded ahead of the Austin race that his team’s rivals are doing a better job of not bottling the lead.

The most notable of the moments he will mull about this year is his rough collision with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. While he wasn’t put out of commission, he ended up in 19th and had to claw his way back to a sixth-place finish, one point behind his starting grid position.

Ferrari fans will be hopeful that Vettel doesn’t come to this race with low motivation. There are multiple overtaking points in this race, and he can use his superb driving skills to have a better crack at the first place. Vettel needs to step up his race if he wants to set up a dramatic finish in Abu Dhabi.

If he performs poorly, however, we can treat the remaining races of the season as a long victory lap for his British rival.

History

Lewis Hamilton has fond memories of the United States Grand Prix. He has won the last race at Indianapolis in 2007 after starting the race at pole position. He then won six of the seven races when the Circuit of the Americas was added to the Formula 1 schedule in 2012. Vettel was the only one who broke the monotony of Hamilton’s dominance in the US when he won with Red Bull in 2013.

However, the Briton is not only after a fifth straight US Grand Prix victory. As mentioned earlier, he is only nine points away from winning the F1 Drivers title. That means that he is only one race away from his fifth World Championship, matching Juan Manuel Fangio’s record.

Hamilton has nothing but love for the Argentine speedster and is obviously stoked to be given the opportunity to match the Formula 1’s “godfather”. Should he win in the United States, he would be only two titles away from Michael Schumacher’s seven.

us motor sport fans know this tidbit of history and will be interested to see how this race goes.

What are the odds?

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are surely the favourites to finish first in the US Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton (left) and Sebastian Vettel (right) during the Japanese Grand Prix

The US Grand Prix 2018 betting odds surely favour the Mercedes man to take the first place and win it all at 1.40 outright, but that doesn’t really make for compelling betting.

If you believe that Vettel will be able to prolong Hamilton’s victory, you will get good winnings at us with the 6.00 outright odds on offer. Bottas also got six, while Max Verstappen is at 11.00 and Kimi Raikkonen is at 16.00.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Japanese Grand Prix 2018: Hamilton Moves Closer to F1 Glory!

Japanese Grand Prix 2018

Lewis Hamilton put on a clinical victory in the Japanese Grand Prix 2018 to get one step away from his fifth world championship.

The Brit driver was never troubled in the race as he put on a lights-to-flag victory in front of a passionate crowd at the Suzuka Circuit. Adding more to the delight of his Mercedes team, Valtteri Bottas finished second for their second consecutive one-two finish.

Ferrari, on the other hand, seem to be in trouble and their star driver Sebastian Vettel might have just driven himself out of contention after managing to finish just sixth in the contest.

Highlights of the game

It was a rather uneventful race up front as Hamilton cruised to an easy victory in the Land of the Rising Sun. After taking his 80th pole position over the weekend, the British star showed his dominance even more to grab the Japanese Grand Prix 2018 highlights and headlines.

Hamilton was in control throughout and led by five seconds over his Silver Arrows teammate, Bottas, midway through the race. In fact, by Lap 43, Hamilton was already 10 seconds ahead of the Finn as he finished with all smiles on his face.

However, while there was really nothing to see in the battle for first, there was plenty of action and drama behind him, thanks to Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who tried their best to get out of the lower spots and make it to the top places.

Vettel started eighth from the grid, but a bright start in the race saw him climb up to fourth by Lap 2—looking well poised to challenge Hamilton and keep himself in the title conversation. Nonetheless, an attempt to overtake Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the Spoon Curve on Lap 8 fired back big time for the German.

The 31-year-old saw an opportunity when the Red Bull slowed down approaching the turn, but Vettel instead collided with Verstappen.

Verstappen managed to control his car and didn’t lose much time, but it was different for Vettel who spun all the way back to 19th. The four-time F1 world champion used Ferrari’s pace advantage to claw his way back, but sixth is all that he could muster.

On the other hand, Ricciardo started from 15th but roared his way for a fourth-place finish. He was up to 10th seven laps through the race, and then the Australian driver managed to pass McLaren’s Fernando Alonso for fourth 13 laps later. He held on to the spot and fended off the Scuderia’s Kimi Raikkonen who ended up fifth.

Bottas, on the other hand, received a stiff challenge from Verstappen for second in the closing stages, even reducing the Mercedes drivers’ lead to just one second with four laps to go. However, Bottas survived the scare to complete the Silver Arrows’ grand finish.

Key statistics

The Japanese Grand Prix 2018 odds at us suggested a one-sided victory for Hamilton, and that was exactly the case as the Brit secured his third-best finish of the Formula One campaign.

Hamilton finished with a 12-second lead over Bottas, topping his 8.9-second lead to the runner-up in the Singapore Grand Prix. It is also only his third double-digit win over the second placer this year, only behind his performances in Barcelona and Hungary.

Moreover, his 69-second advantage over sixth-placed Vettel is the biggest winning margin between the two in races that they both finish this year. Hamilton also holds the previous mark when he finished 61 seconds ahead of the German in the French Grand Prix.

With results of the race, Hamilton now extends his lead over Vettel in the championship race to 67 points. That means Hamilton can secure the title with a win in Austin, Texas later this month.

Meanwhile, Mercedes are 78 points ahead of Ferrari in the battle for the best constructor, which means they likely have that too in the bag.

What’s next?

Following his Japanese Grand Prix 2018 loss, can Vettel still stage a comeback and win the world title this year?

The Ferrari team checks Sebastian Vettel’s car during a pit stop in the Japanese Grand Prix

As mentioned, next up is the United State Grand Prix in Texas in two week’s time.

Ferrari will hope for the best results when they head to the Circuit of the Americas. Nonetheless, fans are expecting Hamilton to end the Ferrari misery in a track where he hasn’t lost for four straight years now.

Hamilton dominated the 2017 US Grand Prix and will surely eye for the same result as he looks to secure the title.

Including the US race, there are only four events left, and the odds are stacked against Vettel and Ferrari to stage a comeback and pip the great Hamilton.

 

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Japanese Grand Prix Preview: Mercedes Can Win More Here!

Japanese Grand Prix 2018

There are only five races remaining in the Formula 1 season, and Mercedes are at the top of the totem pole when it comes to victories garnered throughout the year. This feat becomes all the more impressive if we put into consideration the fact that Ferrari actually started the year on top form.

However, this also means that the dogfighting will also increase as we approach the end of the season. Ferrari will be looking to topple Mercedes from the top, and they need to produce a superb performance at Japanese Grand Prix to catch up with the German powerhouse.

The same type of chase is also happening in the Driver Standings. Lewis Hamilton has a fifty-point advantage over Sebastian Vettel, and the German needs to pull off an impressive result in this game if he wants to set up a thrilling upset by the time they line up in Abu Dhabi.

Let us take you for a spin around the latest Japanese Grand Prix 2018 updates to keep you up to date with what to expect before the world’s fastest cars line up at Suzuka. After all, this kind of race is one that you shouldn’t miss, after all.

Talking Points

Valterri Bottas and Mercedes team are expecting a closer fight for pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton celebrates during the awarding ceremony of Russian Grand Prix

Vettel and Ferrari face a dire situation if we consider their hopes to wrestle the championship away from the current leaders after Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and the Silver Arrows pulled off a fantastic one-two punch at the Russian Grand Prix. The sheer dominance Hamilton displayed over the course of the race show how the Briton has hit his stride and will not likely cede his position come the start of the race.

Another big problem for them is the fact that Hamilton and his team refuse to sit on their laurels and think of the season as won. They are still wary of Ferrari and believe that the Scuderia are, in fact, holding back in order to surprise everyone come race day.

“Ferrari have turned down a bit,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. “We are actually losing a bit through the esses, the fast corners, so I think probably Vettel’s lap time is a little better at the moment.”

The fact that they say this despite Hamilton crushing the competition during Free Practice 1 is a bit insulting to the ardent Ferrari faithful, but that is also a testament to the quality of the machine Ferrari have built for this season.

However, I believe that the biggest issue that will affect all of the teams in the run-up — not just Ferrari and Mercedes — is the condition of the track itself.

Japan was hit by two strong typhoons over the past couple of months, and this means that the Suzuka International Racing Course will be a tougher track for teams concerned about their tyre management. The rubber build-up over the past couple of motorsport events on the track was washed away, making the track rougher for the Pirelli tyres of all of the teams involved.

Vettel will have it harder than his rivals at Mercedes, though. The team made a bold decision of bringing 10 sets of supersoft tyres ahead of the race, and he only has one set of new softs and one set of new mediums to manage his practice and qualifying runs ahead of the weekend.

Moreover, the Silver Arrows aren’t the only ones he has to worry about. While Max Verstappen claimed that he didn’t enjoy racing in this year’s cleansed track one bit, Red Bull Racing will still be a tough opponent for them. Force India and Haas have also impressed throughout the year and will be dangerous opponents for them moving forward. Toro Rosso’s updated Honda engine will also make life interesting.

Ferrari have a lot on their plate while Mercedes can simply zero in on possibly finishing the season here in Suzuka. There are still four races after this, but the season is theirs to lose at this point.

History

The winner of last year’s race is Lewis Hamilton. While he was involved in a rather messy crash with Pierre Gasly, there should be no reason for the neutral fans to back Hamilton in this race. Moreover, he has won the last three races of the season. I don’t have a doubt that he will have a wonderful time racing here.

However, it’s not like Vettel would just bow out of this track. He has won on Suzuka four times, tied with Hamilton for the most Japan GP victories out of the active drivers. Moreover, there are only fifty points between him and Hamilton. Vettel must use these as motivation to pull off a fantastic race and win his fifth at Suzuka.

Michael Schumacher is the winningest driver of the Japanese Grand Prix with his six wins. A win for either Hamilton or Vettel will edge them closer with one of the sport’s most beloved figures.

What are the odds?

The Japanese Grand Prix 2018 odds heavily favour Hamilton, with leading bookies such as us giving him 1.40 outright odds to win the race. However, if you think Vettel will win this race, a bet for Hamilton to finish in an even-numbered position offers tasty odds of 2.56.

Sebastian Vettel had to redeem himself from last season Japanese Grand Prix that shattered his title hopes

Sebastian Vettel revving up for his practice session at the Suzuka Circuit

Given all that I have mentioned earlier, Vettel gets a justifiably high 5.50. I have an inkling that Vettel will be able to get back on track here, but victory will mainly depend on him getting pole position (something he hasn’t done since 2012).

The rest of the Super Six is offering promising rewards: Bottas gets 6.00, the young Verstappen is at 16.00, and Kimi Raikkonen gets 23.00 alongside Daniel Ricciardo.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Tactics and Teamwork: Mercedes Win Russian Grand Prix 2018!

Russian Grand Prix 2018

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are both unhappy with what happened at Sochi, but for Mercedes, winning is all that matters.

Bottas started from pole position and was on pace to win the Russian Grand Prix 2018; however, the Finn driver ended up taking the runners-up spot after the team ordered him to let Hamilton pass as they aim to extend the Briton’s championship lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

While that decision may be controversial, using team tactics isn’t new to Formula One. And although fans see it as unsportsmanlike, Mercedes’ move put them one step closer to winning both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championship.

Highlights of the game

The Mercedes drivers started in front of the pack, with Bottas looking to defend the Sochi title that he won last year in a bizarre turn of events. But his lead didn’t last long as he had to give way to Hamilton midway through the race after Vettel threatened to surpass the Brit driver in the earlier exchanges.

The Silver Arrows feared that Vettel would take advantage of the slipstream heading into the first corner to get the lead—the same way Bottas won the event last year—so Bottas and Hamilton teamed up to fend off the German ace and secure the top places after the first lap.

Nonetheless, another pit stop error caused Hamilton a place and ruined Mercedes’ strategy for a comfortable one-two victory.

Bottas pitted first and changed his tyres on Lap 12. After that, Ferrari decided to pit Vettel on the following lap—the moment that Mercedes should have pitted Hamilton as well. Instead of calling their lead driver into the pits, however, the team waited for a lap.

Hamilton was dropping in pace by Lap 14, and so when he changed his tyres, he came out behind Vettel who was just picking up his speed.

The 33-year-old Hamilton, now at third and behind his title rival, relentlessly attacked Vettel and succeeded overtaking him on the fourth corner of Lap 16. Nevertheless, with the 31-year-old German threatening, Mercedes had to ensure that they would get the best out of the situation.

Lewis Hamilton extends his lead from Sebastian Vettel following his victory at the Russian Grand Prix 2018

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2018 Russian Grand Prix at Sochi

Hamilton then took the lead on Lap 25 after Bottas allowed him to overtake due to team orders. The teammates were neck and neck against each other throughout the remainder of the race, with Hamilton leading by less than two seconds over Bottas.

It was pretty comfortable for the Mercedes drivers after the swap though, as Vettel failed to challenge Bottas for second and finished five seconds behind the Finn.

Besides the heated battle up front, the chasing pack also didn’t fail to entertain, thanks to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who celebrated his 21st birthday with a bang.

The Dutchman grabbed the Russian Grand Prix 2018 highlights as he climbed off from 19th all the way to a fifth-place finish—even going in front at one point before pitting.

Verstappen made it to fifth after ten laps and battled for a podium finish, but his pit stop on Lap 43 seemed a little too late as he didn’t have enough chances to challenge Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who ended up fourth.

Key statistics

Hamilton finished 2.5 seconds ahead of his teammate, but he admitted that he isn’t particularly proud of it and added that Bottas deserved to win the contest instead of him.

“Valtteri did a fantastic job all weekend and he was a real gentleman to let me by. He deserved to win,” said Hamilton who was the pre-race favourite in Russian Grand Prix 2018 betting.

“It’s the strangest day I can remember in the sport. He was an incredible gentleman. The team took the decision. It’s very weird to feel down. It’s definitely the win on my list of wins that I am least proud of.”

For Mercedes, though, they will only see Hamilton’s 50-point championship lead over Vettel—a 10-point boost rather than a three-point gain that Hamilton would have gotten had he finished second.

Moreover, Mercedes extended their lead over the Scudetto in the F1 constructor standings. They now have 495 points, 53 ahead of Ferrari and 203 in front of Red Bull Racing.

What’s next?

It’s three consecutive wins now for Hamilton—having won the recent races in Singapore and Italy—and he will look to make it four straight when the Formula One season heads to the Suzuka Circuit for the Japanese Grand Prix.

After losing in the Russian Grand Prix 2018, Sebastian Vettel hopes to finally claim a win in the upcoming Japanese GP

Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel talks to the press after the Singapore Grand Prix 2018

Hamilton won the Japan battle last year after a mechanical problem kept Vettel out of the race, and the us motorsport odds are leaning towards another domination from the Englishman given his current form and winning streak.

 

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Russian Grand Prix 2018: Hamilton and Vettel Will Battle in Sochi

Russian Grand Prix 2018

The Formula 1 season is slowly reaching a high-octane finish as there are only six races left in the calendar. Every team in the competition knows that every point matters from this point on, and every single decision they will make from this point on will decide as to whether they will meet their preseason expectations or not.

The Russian Grand Prix is an especially important race as it is a rather quick track that offers a perfect combination of high-speed sections and intricate braking points. Tyre management will be crucial here as much as engine performance.

The results of this race could also determine who will stand atop the lists of many us motor sport fans. Lewis Hamilton has built a rather sizeable lead over Sebastian Vettel, and a poor result for the Ferrari driver here could trigger the beginning of the end for his season.

Will Vettel be able to keep up in Sochi? Or Will Hamilton build on his lead and finish first once more?

Talking Points

Hamilton is coming to this race full of confidence after pulling off a fantastic victory at the Singapore Grand Prix. Hamilton managed to get pole position in the narrow Marina Bay Street Circuit and hold off a rather nervy pursuit by Max Verstappen in the middle stages of the race.

Lewis Hamilton is attempting to secure his fifth F1 title by winning the Russian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his Singapore Grand Prix victory

However, the biggest bit of Russian Grand Prix 2018 news is that Hamiton still is not sure of his place. He claims that the 2018 title is still not as good as his. He probably won’t be satisfied until he acquires enough points to clinch the season.

“I don’t think you ever have one hand on it — you either have both hands on it or you dont,” said the Briton ace. He sounded like he is giving more than enough respect for Vettel, who has taken pole position in last year’s race.

“Six races is still a lot of races. The job, the target and the approach is still exactly the same.”

It would be fair for one to think that Hamilton is just bluffing and is playing intricate mind games with his closest rival. After all, it is hard to catch up to the Mercedes driver when he is on pole and is doing everything in his power to win.

I would still advise keeping an eye on Vettel if you are thinking of putting all of your Russian Grand Prix 2018 betting money on Hamilton, however. The German, who was leading the Driver Standings for a good period of the season, has not won five Grands Prix this season due to mere luck.

Everyone and their mother knows that Ferrari have created an especially powerful machine this year. While the results haven’t been in Ferrari’s favour, the fact that Hamilton’s lead can be reversed by the end of two races is enough reason for him to worry.

Moreover, Vettel has found success in the Belgian Grand Prix, the Grand Prix among the last couple of races that shares plenty of speed traps and interesting breaking points as Russia. Vettel was also a heavy favourite at Singapore until a curious pit decision crushed his chances of trimming the lead. And now he finished the first free practice session at the top.

It is then understandable that Vettel’s focus ahead of this race is razor-sharp. He still believes that he can win the Formula 1 season. With the German thinking like this, it is impossible not to look forward to an exciting battle between the two.

History

The Russian Grand Prix has been a long absentee in the Formula 1 calendar, with its last race being in 1914 before making its return 100 years later. There have only been four races in Sochi, and Mercedes have been the master of the track.

Hamilton won the first two tournaments, winning the 2014 and 2015 races while taking the first pole position at the Sochi Autodrom. However, the win column does not tell the entire story.

Sebastian Vettel has also shown his brilliance on the track. Besides winning the pole of the 2017 race, he has also recorded the fastest lap in the 2015 edition of the race. Now armed with Ferrari’s powerful machine, it wouldn’t be a bad move to cheer for Vettel here.

However, they aren’t the only ones worth noticing here. Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s team-mate at Mercedes, won the 2017 race after a bizarre turn of events saw him finish at the top. Moreover, Kimi Raikkonen recorded the fastest lap in that same race.

If either of the two performs well, there shouldn’t be any reason for them to try and compete for the top spot.

What are the odds?

Hamilton’s proven track record at Sochi places him at the top of the outright market with 1.70. The Briton’s steely determination at this point of the season is simply amazing, and it wouldn’t be a bad investment to make a bet on him.

Sebastian Vettel has a lot of catching up to do at Russian Grand Prix after struggling for pace in his practice

Sebastian Vettel looking focused before his practice

However, Sebastian Vettel will be hungry and will likely start a title push at this race. If everything goes well at qualifying. It wouldn’t be bad to look at his 2.50 outright odds.

Bottas gets a rather nice nod from bookies with his 7.00, while Raikkonen is a distant third with his 17.00. Both of these drivers can definitely bring it to the lead drivers if they are on top of their game, but this will entirely depend on their tyre strategy and their qualifying results.

If you’re looking to make a risky play, Max Verstappen’s 61.00 outright odds is the way to go. The Dutch speedster had a sublime race at Singapore and will be a threat to both Scuderia and Mercedes if he gets a top-three spot at the end of qualifiers.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Singapore Grand Prix 2018: Perfect Night for Flawless Hamilton

Singapore Grand Prix 2018

The battle at the Marina Bay was supposed to be Ferrari’s race; however, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has proven that no one can beat him when he is at his indomitable best.

Hamilton put on a stunning display in the Singapore Grand Prix 2018 to extend his lead over Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel and move closer to the Formula 1 Championship title with six races to go.

It was a straightforward race for the Mercedes star who was rarely troubled in the fight. After surprising everyone when he took the pole position in the qualifying, Hamilton showed that it was no fluke as he dominated from start to finish.

Vettel, on the other hand, was left frustrated with a third-place finish after another Ferrari strategy blunder cost him a spot in the night race that had little drama.

Highlights of the game

Mercedes usually have a hard time at Marina Bay, so it’s no wonder why Ferrari and Vettel were firm favourites in Singapore Grand Prix 2018 betting. Nonetheless, Hamilton made no mistake and used the pole position to his advantage to make it back-to-back victories in the event.

Hamilton got off to a bright start and held his lead in the crucial first corner to stay ahead. While he lost the front seat when he pitted on Lap 15, the Briton quickly regained the advantage and cruised to an easy victory.

He was never really threatened in the tournament, though there was a nervy moment for Hamilton on Lap 37 when he was held up by backmarkers—Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin—who was driving way slower than him.

That moment saw Hamilton’s lead over Verstappen cut to just 1.5 seconds, but the Mercedes driver held on. Verstappen had trouble lapping Grosjean during the backmarker incident, but he later admitted that he had the opportunity to overtake Hamilton but declined because it wouldn’t have been “fair.”

“I thought it was not fair anyway with the way he was being held up,” the Dutchman said after the race. “I had an opportunity but you can’t overtake into turn 10 and I didn’t want to take the risk.”

It was smooth sailing after that for Hamilton as he crossed the finish line 8.9 seconds ahead of Verstappen and 39.9 seconds ahead of Vettel.

Vettel finished third, though he could have had the second place if not for a miscalculation from his Scuderia team. The German ace, who started third, went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen in the opening lap and managed to surpass him for second in Turn Seven—just in time before a safety car was called after Sergio Perez accidentally pushed his Force India teammate Esteban Ocon into the wall.

Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel feels disappointed after failing to win the Singapore Grand Prix 2018 title

Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel in action during the Singapore Grand Prix 2018 at the Marina Bay

However, Ferrari decided to pit him on Lap 14 to switch his car to ultra-soft tyres in hopes of mounting a challenge for the lead. That strategy fired back big time as Vettel found himself behind Perez, eventually losing time and allowing Verstappen to retake the second spot.

It was a blunder reminiscent of their mistake in the Hungarian Grand Prix 2018, and Vettel was clearly disappointed with the result as he emphasized they never stood a chance with the way they raced.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas ended up fourth, while Kimi Raikkonen rounded up the top five finishers.

Key statistics

Hamilton’s victory is one of his most lopsided wins this year. His 8.9-second lead over Verstappen is only behind his finishes in Barcelona and Hungary where he ended up with a winning margin of 17 seconds or more.

Moreover, the Briton has now tied Vettel for the most wins in Singapore with four. He also won the title in 2017 when Vettel crashed out of the race.

On the other hand, with the Singapore Grand Prix 2018 results, Hamilton is now 40 points ahead of Vettel in the Championship race with 281. Mercedes are also well clear in the Constructor standings with 452 points, 37 points ahead of Ferrari.

What’s next?

With his win in the Singapore Grand Prix 2018, Lewis Hamilton eyes to lead Mercedes to another victory in Russian GP

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas faces Lewis Hamilton as they celebrate for his Russia Grand Prix victory

There’s a two-week break before Formula One returns, but the us motorsport page will keep fans posted about the latest news and happenings in the F1 circuit.

The next stop for the competition is Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix. Mercedes won the race last year, though it was Bottas who surprisingly led the Silver Arrow to victory as Hamilton failed to make a podium finish.

A week after that, the teams and their drivers head to the Suzuka Circuit for the Japanese Grand Prix. It was a circuit where both Mercedes and Ferrari often struggle, but the former will fancy their chances after their one-two finish in last season’s edition.

 

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