Mon, Oct 2, 2:32pm by Staff Writer
Daniel Ricciardo’s odds of winning next week’s Japanese Formula One Grand Prix have shortened after the Australian finished third behind Red Bull teammate and winner Max Verstappen in Malaysia on Sunday night.
After starting fourth on the grid, Ricciardo held off Sebastian Vettel to consolidate fourth position on the drivers’ championship, but was not quick enough to compete with Verstappen and championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
Ricciardo is now paying $7 to win in Japan on October 6 as fourth favourite behind Hamilton at $2.25, Vettel on $3.75 and Verstappen on $4.50.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raiikkonen is at $11, with Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate on $13.
Verstappen, who started from third, overtook pole sitter Hamilton on the fourth lap of 56 around the Sepang International Circuit.
Ricciardo’s podium finish was his eighth of a season highlighted by a win at the Azerbaijan GP.
Vettel started at the back of the grid after engine problems ruined his Saturday qualifying and recovered to fourth.
The victory came a day after Verstappen’s 20th birthday and ends a winless run dating to the Spanish Grand Prix last season, his first since being promoted to Red Bull from Toro Rosso.
The Dutch driver remains sixth in the championship standings in a campaign marred by seven retirements.
Hamilton’s second-placed widened his lead on Vettel, to 263 points to 235 with five races remaining. Bottas is a distant third at 212, with Ricciardo on 162.
The betting for the drivers’ championship is now a virtual two-horse race, with Hamilton almost unbackable at $1.08, ahead of Vettel at $7. Bottas is paying $201 for an unlikely championship win, with every other driver on $501.
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