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Spanish Grand Prix: Mercedes in charge

| 14.05.2017

Hamilton looks a weak favourite

Mercedes have dominated the build up to Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, claiming a one-two in practice, and did so leaving main rivals Ferrari for dust.

Preparation for the Barcelona spectacle wasn’t short of drama either, with Fernando Alonso suffering engine failure early in the first round of practice, sending his McLaren-Honda into a heart-stopping spin. The smoke may have cleared, but the cloud hanging over the team remains, and they aren’t expected to do anything different when it matters.

Respect was shown between Hamilton and Rosberg after the Abu Dhabi track but their rivalry still remains.

Mercedes dominate in practice

Coral traders have kept a close eye on the first couple of runs around the track, but it did little but confirm their thinking, that Mercedes, and indeed Lewis Hamilton, is where the smart money goes here. The British hero of F1 has suffered his share of heartbreak this season already, finishing second behind Sebastian Vettel in Austria in week one and the same again in Bahrain.

That was nothing to the former world champion’s anguish last time out in the Russian Grand Prix however, a race won by teammate Valtteri Bottas, as the Brit ended no better than a disappointing fourth, rounding off what had been a miserable week.

Hamilton remains jolly for title

The Stevenage-born driver now goes second in the drivers’ championship, 13 points behind Vettel, with only one win to show for his efforts so far. Bottas is 10 points behind in third, and victory in Spain would blow the title race wide-open.

Despite that tightly-packed field, Lewis remains odds-on favourite to get the desired result over the course of the season, with Coral traders sticking at 10/11, while current pace-setter Vettel is an 11/10 poke. Those fancying an upset can help themselves to our healthy 6/1 on Bottas. Things are a lot clearer in the constructers’ championship, Mercedes nailed down at 1/2, against Ferrari’s 6/4.

Mercedes driver Rosberg is closing in on Drivers' Championship success.

Brit to return to winning ways

Last year’s Spanish race wasn’t too kind to Hamilton either. In a gripping contest won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, making him the youngest winner in F1 history, Hamilton crashed out in lap one, following a collision with Rosberg. With the pair vying for position early on, opinions were split on who was at fault, but the Englishman’s determination and lack of a cool head under pressure seemed to cost him.

Despite a number of negatives, both in form and last year’s race, our sports traders have Lewis Hamilton priced as the most likely winner of this leg, and if you agree there’s 4/5 on him living up to expectations. A more interesting winner would be second fav Bottas, who can be had at 9/4, while another triumph for Vettel seems unlikely, 4/1 the call on Friday.

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Frank Monkhouse