As the 2018 Formula One season moves to Austria, the title race between the two main protagonists has intensified as of late. Sebastian Vettel who took the lead after Canadian Grand Prix surrenders it post France and Lewis Hamilton has moved back to the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings.
The Ferrari driver finds himself on 131 points, 14 points adrift of defending champions Lewis Hamilton and many are now questioning as to whether Vettel can end a period of Mercedes dominance which has lasted since 2014.
Five years ago, it was Vettel himself who was the last man not in a Mercedes to be crowned world champion. Since then, though, it has been nothing but the ‘Silver Arrows’ at the top of the pile when it comes to this discipline of motorsport.
Lewis Hamilton, who won titles in 2014, 2015 and 2017, was only foiled from making it a clean sweep by former teammate Nico Rosberg back in 2016 and the British driver is looking to earn a fifth title this year to put him level with the Argentinian legend Juan Manuel Fangio in terms of world championship victories.
However, Hamilton is going to have his work cut out, especially if his performance in the Canadian Grand Prix was anything to go by; he could only watch from afar as he guided his Mercedes to fifth place. This was a result which subsequently saw him demoted from the top of the standings.
Looking at the latest odds for the Drivers’ Championship though, the confidence is still with Hamilton, especially after his performance at Paul Ricard, to deliver a fourth world title in five years. The 33-year-old is currently odds-on with SkyBet at 4/5 in which to do so, however, he will have to improve on his recent Canadian showing if this to be the case.
With such a small margin between Vettel and Hamilton, then the smart money will certainly be on one of these two drivers to win the title come November, and if you enjoy free bets then it would make a lot of sense to utilise one, like Coral’s £30 free bet, on this particular market due to the uncertainty.
Ferrari’s win in Montreal will no doubt give them a huge confidence boost going into the summer stretch of races, especially as they will look for Vettel to not only extend his lead at the top but also for the team to move to the top of the Constructors’ Championship.
They went into the next race at the infamous Paul Ricard track in France with a deficit of 17 points behind Mercedes and, were it not for the two retirements from Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen that came in both Bahrain and Spain, then we could be looking at a much different proposition.
Both Mercedes and Ferrari have a Finnish driver who is playing the number two role this season, with Raikkonen in the red corner and Valtteri Bottas in the silver. Their own title aspirations will now be put on the backburner as they are briefed with the role of supporting their respective number one drivers.
A point that is made evident when you look at their current odds in winning this year’s title. If Bottas is on the fringes of proceedings at 40/1 then the 2007 champion Raikkonen is a rank outsider by comparison with William Hill currently offering odds of 150/1 to repeat the success of 11 years ago.
With Mercedes ruling the roost over the past four years, it is perhaps fair to say that fans of the sport will be leaning towards Ferrari success this time around, as many will hope that the recent status quo in Formula 1 is finally broken.
The Italian giants have certainly got a car capable of winning races, that we’ve already seen this year. They just have to make sure that they can keep themselves in the driving seat as we head into the business end of the Formula One season.