The fate of the Formula One drivers’ world championship will be decided in the next eight races with Nico Rosberg being hotly pursued by Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the standings as we preview the second-half of the season.
It’s fair to say the first portion of the F1 season fell firmly into the box marked ‘thrilling’, but looking ahead there is still so much more to revel in as the world’s most expensive roadshow rolls into Belgium next up.
1. Mercedes pair do battle like Bahrain and take it to the wire in Abu Dhabi
With just 11 points separating the oft-feuding Mercedes drivers even the great Murray Walker won’t be drawn on nailing his colours to the Rosberg or Hamilton mast, with the pair priced at 8/11 and 11/10 for respective glory.
Here at news.Ladbrokes we’ve shown no such impartiality, giving good reasons for a Rosberg triumph, but whichever way the pendulum swings it’s all about the racing.
If scenes such as Bahrain can be repeated again – where the two drivers were going nosecone-to-rear-tire for lap upon lap – then we’re all in for a treat.
2. Williams to continue fighting for the chequered flag
After an agonising period in the wilderness for the British-based team and veterans of 16 world championships it’s been brilliant to finally see Williams back on the podium.
Frank Williams took a bold decision to go with Formula 3 driver Valtteri Bottas and his decision has paid dividends.
The Finn is squeezing every ounce out of the vastly improved Williams machine, driven by the incredible Mercedes engine, registering three podiums and two front rows in qualifying so far.
3. More defiance of team orders
When quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel was told to let new Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo through on lap 26 of the Chinese Grand Prix, “tough luck” was the response from the German.
This kind of behaviour has been a great hallmark of 2014 as Hamilton and Rosberg’s own ding-dong battles can testify, while Ferrari have also seen similar insubordination.
4. Others following Daniel Ricciardo’s lead with Grand Prix wins
Piecing together two Grand Prix victories in his debut season in a Red Bull seat would have been a tremendous achievement for the Aussie, but is doubly as impressive given Mercedes dominance.
Bottas is the driver who looks the most likely to upset the chequered-flag status quo next, with the Williams man afforded odds fo 16/1 for Belgian success.
5. More thrilling racing like Silverstone
All the fuss about ‘quiet cars’ thanks to the revolutionary hybrid engines, ironically fell silent pretty darn quickly as the wheel-to-wheel action got under way.
To pick out individual examples of breathtaking high-speed battles is difficult purely because there have been so many of them.
However, multiple world champions Vettel and Fernando Alonso going hell-for-leather at the British Grand Prix is right up there and would be welcomed in any subsequent races.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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