The Pain For Rosberg To Continue In Spain
The Formula One circus arrives in Europe with Lewis Hamilton having opened up a 27 point lead over his team-mate Nico Rosberg after just four races.
The Season So Far
Ferrari remain the main challengers to the Mercedes dominance, although damage to Sebastian Vettel’s front wing in Bahrain last time meant it was Kimi Raikkonen who led the red charge, finishing second to Hamilton to record his best result of the season.
The Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona is a track that the drivers are familiar with as a lot of winter testing is carried out there. Most of the circuit is taken at high speed but the hairpin turns and chicanes at the end of the lap put a lot of pressure on braking. Preserving tyres through the quicker sections is important, and grid position is crucial: eleven of the last twelve races in Barcelona have been won from pole.
In The Pits
Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth for Red Bull in Bahrain, but suffered another engine failure, meaning he is down to his last engine, and if that one gives out, he will be slapped with a grid penalty. Such mechanical difficulties are symptomatic of what has been a poor start to the season and lack of reliability combined with a significant power deficit compared to Ferrari and Mercedes means that neither Ricciardo nor his new team-mate Daniil Kvyat can be backed with any confidence.
Even though he ended up playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton last season, for much of 2014, Nico Rosberg at least looked as though he was capable of upstaging his team-mate. That hasn’t been the case this year.
Rosberg may still believe he can compete, but results suggest otherwise, and it seems likely that his role for the remainder of the season will be restricted to holding up Ferrari to allow Hamilton to rack up the victories. In these circumstances, Rosberg no longer looks value and the only sensible course of action is to back Hamilton at odds on.
Given their poor performance last season, it is remarkable how quickly Ferrari have been able to close the gap. They still have some ground to make up on Mercedes, but in Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen they have two drivers equal in calibre to Hamilton, both capable of pushing the world champion hard and capitalising on any mistakes. Vettel’s error in Bahrain allowed Raikkonen to finish in front of him, but the German is preferred in Barcelona at 7/1.
At bigger odds, it may also be worth backing one of the Williams drivers. They’ve been pretty solid so far this season, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if one of them sneaked into the top two at some point. Valtteri Bottas has been more consistent than Felipe Massa and he is the pick at 66/1.