Rosberg To Be Crowned Shanghai Knight
Chinese Grand Prix
Once again Lewis Hamilton heads the outright betting for the Chinese Grand Prix, closely followed by Nico Rosberg who represents the current value…
The Season So Far
After the Australian Grand Prix, the 2015 season was shaping up to be as predictable as the 2014 version, but the Mercedes domination was finally broken in Malaysia as Sebastian Vettel clinched Ferrari’s first victory since 2013. Kimi Raikkonen also made the top four for Ferrari, followed by the two Williams drivers, but there was disappointment for Red Bull as neither Daniil Kyvat nor Daniel Ricciardo could build on promising starting grid positions.
The Shanghai International Circuit does feature a full-throttle 1.3 kilometre straight, but it isn’t considered a particularly fast course, as it includes a number of slow corners, putting a lot of strain on braking. The dust from the surrounding factories reduce grip and tyre wear is once again a significant fact. The weather is usually cool and often wet, although at the time of writing, the forecast is for a dry race day.
In The Pits
The Red Bull team would have been pleased to see Daniil Kyvat and Daniel Ricciardo starting in fourth and fifth position respectively last time, but the race itself proved to be a disappointment. They are still some way off the pace, and its hard to see them improving sufficiently to challenge in China. The same can be said for McClaren-Honda for whom Fernando Alonso had a miserable debut in Malaysia.
Nico Rosberg once again chased home Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia and so far this season has not looked as though he is about to mount a serious challenge to his team-mate, but he has a good record in Shanghai, which was the venue for his first win last season.
Both drivers are a bigger price than they were ahead of the last race, but Rosberg remains the value selection and can be backed at 11/4.
We knew that Ferrari were closing the gap, but few expected them to break up the Mercedes dominance this early in the season. Although Sebastian Vettel’s victory owed something to superior race strategy it is clear that the Ferrari car has improved again since Australia, and if that trend continues we can expect both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen to be just as competitive in Shanghai. Raikkonen may be a touch over-priced but Vettel is the better driver and the more solid selection at 9/1.
It could also pay to have one of the Williams drivers on your short-list in China. Both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa improved their grid positions during the race in Malaysia, with Bottas making the most impressive move, from ninth at the start to finish fifth. The track at Shanghai is similar to Barcelona, where Williams do much of their pre-season testing and that might give them an edge over some of the teams. Back Bottas each way to capitalise on any Mercedes or Ferrari slip-ups.