Nico To Nick Victory Off Hamilton In Montreal


Mercedes continue to dominate the F1 season as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg go head-to-head once more in the Canadian Grand Prix. In the preview below, I take a look at the best value bets to be had.

The Season So Far
The total dominance of Mercedes continued in Monaco two weeks ago, although Lewis Hamilton’s run of consecutive Grand Prix victories was halted by team-mate Nico Rosberg who relegated the Englishman to second and edged ahead in the Drivers’ Championship by four points. Closest rivals Red Bull had a solid weekend, with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel both on the second row of the grid, but they couldn’t stop Mercedes extending their lead in the Constructors’ Championship to an eye-boggling 141 points.

The Circuit
Round seven sees the Formula One circus crossing the Atlantic to the popular Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. It’s a semi-street circuit, with slow corners, long straights and plenty of overtaking opportunities. The heavy braking and demands placed on traction means this venue is tough on tyres, and to make things trickier, it often rains there. Pit stop strategy will be crucial.

In The Pits
Ferrari occupied the third row on the grid after qualifying in Monaco, and Fernando Alonso battled hard to grab another top four finish. The team has upgrades to power unit and chassis planned for this weekend, but these will need to have a big impact because this kind of track, where traction out of slow corners is crucial, has not suited them in the past. They are moving in the right direction, but are still way off the pace set by Mercedes and neither Alonso nor Kimi Raikkonen appeal at big odds.

Red Bull are the nearest challengers to Mercedes, but you can’t help thinking that the slow, winding track at Monaco offered them their best chance to close the gap on the leaders. Back on a more conventional track that hasn’t suited them in the past, their relative lack of power will once again be a significant handicap so neither Vettel nor Ricciardo are worth backing in Canada.

Recommended Bets
Having emerged from Monaco with their dominance unchallenged, I can see Mercedes managing another one-two this weekend. Hamilton has won this race three times, but I can’t back him at 1/2 when his admirable team-mate is available at much bigger odds. Rosberg has never won in Montreal, but then he’s never been part of such a dominant team before. Back the German at 15/8.

If any team is going to surprise the leaders this weekend it could be Force India. Their car benefits from a Mercedes power unit and excellent traction, and the Montreal track will play to their strengths. Nico Hulkenberg has been the more consistent of their two drivers, but Sergio Perez has managed their only podium finish this year, in Bahrain, and has driven well in Canada before, back in 2012 when he finished third. He’s worth backing each way at 100/1 to take advantage of any Mercedes slip-up.