Despite winning for the third time in four Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, narrowing the gap to Formula One drivers’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton to just ten points, McLaren’s Nico Rosberg appears to be a backable price for the title at 7/2.
Lessons must be heeded, however, from the pair’s fight to the finish last season, when Hamilton eventually scored 384 championship points to his Mercedes teammates’ 317, although Rosberg took it to the final race at Abu Dhabi.
The Brit won just one of seven races from May’s Monaco Grand Prix to August’s Belgian offering, leaving the German 29 points clear in the drivers’ championship with seven races left in the campaign.
Following a conciliatory concession next time out in Italy, when Rosberg let Hamilton pass after carelessly smashing into him at Spa-Francorchamps, the 30-year-old claimed six of the last seven races to snag his second overall title.
The BBC’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson offered a glowing review of Rosberg after Sunday’s race:
“It was the first time this year – and arguably, depending upon how you look at it, the first time since the start of 2014 – that Rosberg had beaten Hamilton in a straight fight without there being any nagging “what ifs” hanging over the result.”
Car-reliability problems and faulty team orders have been a fixture of Rosberg’s victories over Hamilton for Mercedes, but according to the Hertfordshire native, such issues haven’t yet been resolved.
Having been passed at the start after qualifying in pole, Hamilton suggested his recent slip was down to the team changing the clutch springs in his car after the Bahrain Grand Prix, which was his third win over the first four races of the season:
“Since then I have been having bad starts. Nico was having bad starts and then they changed everything and now he is having good starts and I am having bad starts. It’s just the way it goes.”
He’s 1/5 with Ladbrokes to retain the drivers’ championship this year, which suggests this will be a quick fix.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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