Monaco Grand Prix 2014 – Betting Preview

The Season So Far
The Formula One circus has returned to Europe, but the change of scenery has not affected the Mercedes dominance.

Lewis Hamilton won his fourth Grand Prix in a row in Spain last time out, and for the fourth time in a row, was chased home by team-mate Nico Rosberg. Red Bull continued their steady improvement, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing third and Sebastian Vettel fourth.

The Circuit
Monaco is something of a freak show. The tight bends and sharp corners mean traffic problems are inevitable, and the only realistic overtaking location is the exit of the tunnel, but drivers taking that option risk picking up debris and compromising their tyres. With just two short straights, there are no sections where drivers can switch off, and it is one of the more mentally demanding races of the season.

In The Pits
A poor start to the season led to the resignation of the Ferrari Team Principal after the Bahrain Grand Prix, but their performances have not improved. The car’s lack of straight line speed has been the main problem so far this season, but they are also having traction issues, which doesn’t bode well for Monaco. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have won this race three times between them but I can’t see either of them being competitive enough to challenge this weekend.

After a strong start, in which Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen making the podium in Australia, McClaren’s fortunes have declined. Both cars retired in Bahrain and neither made the top ten in China or Spain. The advantage they might have enjoyed over teams not using the Mercedes engine is being reduced all the time, and although they are available at big odds, neither Button nor Magnussen appeal.

Recommended Bets
The continuing dominance of the Mercedes drivers means you have to have at least one of them on your side. For the last three Grand Prix, I’ve opted for Nico Rosberg and been proven wrong as favourite Hamilton has gone in, but this is not the circuit to lump on any driver at odds-on. Rosberg won this race last year to record his second Grand Prix victory and he is the better value option at 13/8.

Red Bull have been the only team to come close to challenging the Mercedes dominance and Monaco offers both Vettel and Ricciardo their best chance so far of picking up maximum points. The tight bends and slow corners will nullify some of the power advantage of the Mercedes and will suit the slower but more nimble Red Bulls. Both drivers are priced at double figures but the preference is for the greater experience of Vettel, who won this race in 2011 and was in excellent form in Barcelona, starting way down the field but finishing fourth.