Formula One: Hamilton can’t afford to trip up in Russia

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It’s safe to say that Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One title defence hasn’t gone terribly well thus far, but the three-time world champion can get his campaign back on track in Russia this weekend.

The Mercedes star has yet to win a race in 2016, and has been forced to watch Nico Rosberg storm to a trio of wins to open out a 36-point lead in the championship.

Lewis has been very much a victim this term, suffering first-lap clashes in Bahrain and China.

But as the only man to win at the Sochi venue, Hamilton will be more than confident of getting his campaign up and running.

Hamilton is 5/4 to claim his first win of the year, the same price as the in-form Rosberg, who’s aiming for a seventh-straight win.

With no rain expected and low tyre wear at the former Winter Olympic venue, we could be in for a much more traditional and straightforward race this weekend, ideal for a Hamilton success.

The Briton’s only concern will be the long run down to the first corner, where any slow starters will be heavily punished off the line on Sunday.

Hamilton made an excellent start last time out in China, after falling into trouble when the lights went out in Australia and Bahrain.

Get away cleanly though, and the 31-year-old could be an excellent price at above evens, having gone into most races last year around 1/3.

Ferrari will be keen to get a clean weekend in too, following their disastrous first corner in Shanghai where Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen collided.

After an engine failure for the German in Bahrain, and a tactical error in Melbourne, Ferrari are yet to show their true hand over a race weekend.

The four-time champion is 11/2 to spoil the Mercedes party with victory, while Raikkonen is 16/1.

They could be worth backing with the Scuderia expected to bring some major improvements to their SF16-H this weekend.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo led early-on last time out, only for a puncture to end his hopes of victory.

The Australian is enjoying the improvements Red Bull and engine supplier Renault have made over the winter, and could be a contender for a podium at 3/1, while a race win is 20/1.

And as for an outsider further down the pack?

Pascal Werhlein and Manor have made huge strides forward this year, and with a Mercedes engine prompting Renault driver Kevin Magnussen to call the car a ‘rocket’ earlier this year, the highly-rated German could keep your Sunday interesting at 14/1 to bag a points finish.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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