The summer feels like it is finally on its way and that will be reinforced when the Formula One cavalcade rolls into Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix.
We’re only four races into the season, but it feels like we’re approaching a crunch period in the 2018 title race.
There’s no doubt that Sebastian Vettel has been the dominant force in the opening four races, but he somehow finds himself behind defending champion Lewis Hamilton in the championship standings.
Both Vettel and Hamilton have had slices of misfortune during the season, but for the Brit to be leading the standings by four points will be music to the Mercedes driver’s ears.
Despite losing his lead in the title race, Vettel has assumed favouritism for the first time this year. 188BET have the German priced at 1.90 with Hamilton at 2.20, and with Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo next best at 26.0 it’s fair to assume it is a two–horse race.
Vettel is also favourite to win at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend, at 2.50 with 188BET, and the Ferrari man really needs to start capitalising. At present he appears to have a better car at his disposal than Hamilton, pole positions in the last three races add weight to that, but he failed to convert in China and Azerbaijan.
If he continues to squander opportunities, we could see a repeat of the 2017 season when Hamilton went on a charge in the second half of the year to wrestle the title from Vettel.
Vettel has found the winning formula hard to come by in Spain, with just once victory to his name, but he’s been a regular visitor to the podium and provided he can avoid any mishaps, he will be confident of claiming his third win of the season and taking back the lead in the drivers’ championship.
While eyes will be drawn to the battle between Vettel and Hamilton, it will be worth keeping an eye on the two Red Bulls.
Ricciardo and team-mate Max Verstappen incurred the wrath of Red Bull’s top brass when crashing into each other in Azerbaijan a fortnight ago.
It’s commendable that the team have allowed their drivers to go in direct opposition for position on track, but taking out a team-mate is one of the biggest sins in Formula 1.
When both failed to finish in Baku, it resulted in Red Bull slipping 59 points behind Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship. That’s a big deal to the team and it will be interesting to see what the dynamic is if they come head to head on the track this weekend.