Fri, Oct 5, 10:56am by Staff Writer
The 17th race of the 2018 Formula One season takes place at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan with Lewis Hamilton the $1.57 favourite to win his fourth straight Grand Prix race.
Hamilton has opened up a 50 point lead on top of the Drivers Championship standings after race wins in Italy, Singapore and Russia during the past month.
His nearest rival Sebastian Vettel has struggled, particularly in Italy and Singapore, two tracks suited to his Ferrari.
Vettel is priced at $3.25 to win the Japan Grand Prix on Sunday.
Ferrari has struggled recent and things got worse for the manufacturer in Sochi last week. Mercedes continued its strong performance in Russia and has a 100 per cent winning record at the venue.
The high-speed Suzuka circuit is said to be one of the drivers’ favourite on the calendar, but it has been a long time between drinks for Ferrari in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Michael Schumacher was the last Ferrari driver to take the chequered flag back in 2004.
Since then, Mercedes have shared Japan success with McLaren, Renault and Red Bull, with the Silver Arrows winning at Suzuka seven times in total.
With those stats, the team of winning driver market heavily favours Mercedes, with the manufacturer priced at $1.57.
The Ferrari combination of Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen is priced at $2.77 to win the race, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen or Daniel Ricciardo a $9.20 shot to be the winners in that market.
This circuit is one of the most difficult to navigate for drivers, with the snaking ‘S’ curves one of the highlights of a track that has been used in Formula One since 1987.
There has been poor weather in Suzuka all week, with rain expected during practice and perhaps through qualifying, although the race forecast is fine.
Red Bull’s four wins in Japan have all come when Sebastian Vetel was behind the wheel, but he is luckless in Japan since 2013, with Lewis Hamilton winning three of the past four Japanese Grand Prix.
Since the hybrid era began in 2014, Mercedes have won all the Japanese Grand Prix every year.
If either Hamilton or Vettel win this weekend, it would break a four-all deadlock at the circuit and move them to second on the all-time list for total wins in Japan behind Michael Schumacher’s seven victories.
Hamilton and Vettel are $1.20 to finish in the top six at Suzuka, with Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen all priced below $1.40.
If Daniel Ricciardo can finish on the podium it would mean his 30th visit to the Formula One podium in his career.
That would be a tall order for the Western Australian native, who is essentially Red Bull’s second driver behind Max Verstappen nowadays.
Verstappen is priced at $11 to win the Japanese Grand Prix, with Ricciardo a $21 shot.
Ricciardo has managed sixth placed finishes in his past two races it would be difficult to see him finishing on the podium in this race.
He is priced with a number of drivers to achieve the fastest lap in Japan with Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel and Ricciardo all priced at $5 in that market.
If Verstappen manages to win the race and doesn’t start from pole position, he will have achieved this feat for the fourth time in his career, the most of any driver in Formula One.
That would defy the odds in the market, with the driver starting from pole position tipped to be the race winner at $1.57. Starting in second place and winning the race is paying $3.60, with a third or fourth placed start at $6.50.
Hamilton has been a dominant force in recent weeks and should continue his winning ways on Sunday. Team tactics give him the best chance of winning at Suzuka, as his race win in Sochi showed.
Best bet- F1 Japan Grand Prix winning margin over 6 seconds at $1.91
Japan Grand Prix Odds
Lewis Hamilton $1.67
Sebastian Vettel $3.25
Valteri Bottas $10
Kimi Raikkonen $11
Max Verstappen $11
Daniel Ricciardo $21
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