It’s a quick turnaround in Formula One, and that’s probably a good thing as it does not give Lewis Hamilton too long to dwell on his difficult start to the season.
The drivers head to Shanghai for the third race of the season, with Hamilton already trailing Sebastian Vettel by 17 points in the title race.
A tactical blunder by his team cost Hamilton victory in the opening race in Melbourne, but that was not the case in Bahrain last weekend as the Brit failed to recover from a poor qualifying effort – exacerbated by a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change – and the best he could do was race through the pack for a third-place finish.
The teams are still tinkering with their cars and strategies, and much more will be known in the coming weeks when they head west and towards the European stretch of the season.
But as things stand, the Ferrari of Vettel looks extremely quick and reliable and that will stand him in good stead at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The German has been second favourite for the two previous races, and that is the state of play once again. Hamilton is 188BET’s race favourite at 1.95, with Vettel available to back at 2.75.
The market makers clearly feel things are going to click for Hamilton at some stage, and the Brit is aware of the need to make something happen.
“I really hope I’m able to climb the ladder and get back to where we’ve been working towards in the last two races,”Hamilton said per the Sun. “There are good things to come but I am 17 points behind now — I cannot afford to lose any more points to Sebastian.”
Hamilton has good memories of the Shanghai International Circuit, as he has five wins to his name – one of which was last year – and if he is to get his season up and running it might as well be on a track that he drives extremely well.
The Brit had things hooked up on Friday, as he was fastest in both practice sessions and it’s now a case of carrying that form into qualifying and the race.
A driver badly in need of a decent result is Max Verstappen. The Dutchman has run hot and cold during his fledgling F1 career, and it’s been cold this term. He was labelled a ‘d******d’ by Hamilton following their clash in Bahrain, a race neither he nor Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished.
Reliability seems to be a bit of a problem for Red Bull, but their practice times are comparable to Ferrari and Mercedes so if they can get their car running well there may be a bit of value in Verstappen for a podium finish at 2.50 with 188BET.