Vettel The Each-Way Value In Sepang

Malaysian Grand Prix

Outright Betting

After a blistering start to the 2015 Formula One season in Australia a few weeks ago, the action moves to Sepang, Malaysia this week.

The Season So Far
There is usually an element of unpredictability about the start of a new Formula One season, but 2015 kicked off with the most predictable outcome imaginable: another straightforward Mercedes victory. Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole and was chased home by Nico Rosberg. Ferrari and Williams proved the nearest challengers, with Sebastian Vettel finishing on the podium in his first outing for his new team and despite their pre-race contract problems, Sauber had a good race with both Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson finishing in the points.

The Circuit
The track at Sepang is fast, with a number of high speed corners, but the main feature is the heat and humidity, which makes it gruelling for drivers and affects the power output of the cars. The rough surface and the stifling heat mean the track is even more demanding on tyres than we saw in Melbourne. And it often rains there. A lot.

In The Pits
Given what we’d seen from Red Bull in pre-season testing, a top six finish for Daniel Ricciardo in Australia was a reasonable return, but the Renault engine is still a long way from the level of performance needed to compete with Mercedes. Red Bull will be working hard to close the gap, but there is still some way to go so neither Ricciardo at 50/1 or Daniil Kyvat at 150/1 make any appeal in Malaysia.

The belated return of Fernando Alonso to McClaren should finally happen this weekend. The presence of the two time world champion will put extra pressure on the team, and on Honda, whose engine looked way off the pace in terms of reliability and performance in Australia. Alonso may eventually get a car he can work with, but it will take a while, so don’t be tempted to back the Spaniard at big odds this week

Recommended Bets
The order of the teams chasing them may have changed, but the Mercedes dominance remains absolute. Their pre-season didn’t go entirely smoothly, but they were back in winning form usual as soon as the real business started, and neither Hamilton nor Rosberg looked in any danger of being caught in Australia. With the reigning champion priced at 1/2 this week, the value is surely with Rosberg at 15/8.

The Ferrari car had looked extremely quick in early testing and they made a strong start to the season, finishing fourth and fifth in qualifying, with Vettel grabbing third behind the two Mercedes drivers.

He’s worth backing in Malaysia at 16/1 as is Felipe Massa. The Williams driver finished third in qualifying in Australia and is a better bet at 25/1 than his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who is returning from a back injury and who could be forgiven for not being at his best in the gruelling conditions at Sepang.