Thu, Nov 9, 2:52pm by Staff Writer
Daniel Ricciardo will be hoping his reliability problems are a thing of the past as heads into the Brazilian Grand Prix fourth-favourite in a fast-improving Red Bull car.
Red Bull’s ongoing upgrades have seen Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen finally able to challenge the Mercedes and Ferrari’s for pace as the season nears its end.
But while Verstappen was able to win in Mexico last time out, the Australian failed to finish for his second consecutive race.
Red Bull believes the reliability problems and is looking to end the season on a high.
“The last four races we’ve had the quickest car on a Sunday,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner said after Mexico.
“Hopefully Brazil can be a good track for us and why not in Abu Dhabi? It will be great to finish the season with at least one more victory,” he said.
Lewis Hamilton intends to spoil that happy ending and promises not to ease the pressure on the competition, despite wrapping up a fourth world title in Mexico.
“This is not an opportunity for us to take our eye off the ball,” Hamilton said ahead of his arrival in Brazil.
Hamilton is the short money favourite paying $1.90 defend his title on the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at $4.90.
Verstappen in just behind on $5.50, a testament to Red Bull’s improving form, with Ricciardo at $7.50, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas on $11 and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari on $21.
Despite just one win and a largely uncompetitive care, Ricciardo is enjoying his best F1 season.
The Australian claimed his ninth podium of the season in Japan and is paying just $2.10 to make it a 10th on Sunday.
Hamilton is on $1.28 to make the top three, with two-time Brazil winner Vettel at $1.40 and Verstappen at $1.50.
Williams driver Felipe Massa, an 11-time race winner, will run his last ever home race at Brazil after announcing his retirement earlier this month.
Sentimental punters may be tempted by the $1001 on offer for Massa to farewell his home crowd with a third Brazilian GP title, and $67 for a podium.
The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace track in Sao Paulo is one of the circuit’s shortest at around 4.3km and promises quick lap times.
The track features a series of contrasting turns, including the iconic Senna S at turn one of a challenging first sector, followed by a series of challenging medium straights before the opportunity for a final uphill burst toward the start-finish line.
The last Brazilian to win at home was the late Ayrton Senna, but local fans have shown a fanaticism for F1 and promise to add plenty of atmosphere to the race.
After rainy patches for practice and qualifying, the weather forecast for race day promises ideal condition with a warm and sunny 27 degrees C.
The Brazilian GP gets underway at 3am Monday morning AEST.
Suggested Bet: Take Ricciardo to make the podium: $2.10
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