At one stage this season, it appeared that Formula 1 was about to experience a resurgence from Ferrari through Sebastian Vettel with the German leading the standings after nine races but from the British Grand Prix onwards, it was been one-way traffic in the favour of Lewis Hamilton.
The 32-year-old’s triumph at Silverstone has sparked a run of six wins from eight races – an outstanding period even in modern-day F1 – and with three races of the season remaining.
Hamilton requires just 10 points to guarantee his fourth world title. Vettel effectively needs to emerge victorious from Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix – and at the following races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi – to have any chance whatsoever but can he maintain the legendary Italian manufacturer’s hopes of a first drivers’ title since 2007?
The F1 betting odds would have you think not. As expected, Hamilton is odds-on to claim a second successive triumph in Mexico City – 12 months on since edging out Nico Rosberg by eight seconds in the 2016 edition – and given his recent success, odds of 17/20 offer excellent value.
Hamilton has had previous quarrels with his team over reliability, but the Brit’s Mercedes has finished every race thus far and if that occurs for the 18th successive time at the weekend, the chances are that it will be Hamilton on the top of the podium.
Going back to Vettel and you can get 11/4 for Hamilton’s sole rival to do his utmost to prolong the title race. In comparison to Hamilton’s betting odds, the value is arguably not there but you have to consider that Vettel has little choice but to drive aggressively.
That is, of course, if he gives his all to try to claim top spot, rather than trying to defend a second place which is coming under pressure from Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas. The Finn has been a little off the pace in recent races but his consistency means that only a 21-point gap stands between himself and Vettel.
The former Williams man is 12/1 for the win and although he has not won since the start of July, his lowest finish in the following eight races in fifth position. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen cannot be discounted either but at 4/1, that is probably a little too short.
If you would like to be more conservative, betting on a top-three finish may be your thing and there is value to be add. Daniel Ricciardo may have been forced to retire in Texas but the Australian has registered nine podiums in 13 attempts and his odds of 2/1 appear to be a no-brainer.
If you are looking for a more speculative punt, backing Esteban Ocon at 33/1 may be the way to go. The Force India driver has not finished above fifth position this season, but the Frenchman has ended three of the last five races in sixth and there is every suggestion that the gap between the Force India and the Red Bulls is being closed.
It is going to take a couple of retirements for Ocon to get onto the podium but aside from Hamilton, Ocon is the only driver to complete every race this season and Force India’s stock is steadily on the rise.
There have been tweaks to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez during its 23-year absence from Formula 1 but one streak has remained the same. In each of the races in 1991, 1992, 2015 and 2016, whoever has been sitting on pole has gone on to win the race on the following day.
Hamilton is into double figures for the amount of pole positions he has achieved this campaign and although the Mercedes driver was beaten to the first corner last weekend, will be make the same mistake twice should he be heading the pack yet again?