Lewis Hamilton’s warm-up for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the first in a long while where he looked like he might threaten a podium after several dour weeks since announcing his pending split from McLaren.
He finished first and second in the two sessions which has seen his price for victory shorten into 5/2.
Imperious German, Sebastian Vettel, who was the quickest in P2, looks set to record what would be an almost world title-affirming fifth straight victory with a price as short as 10/11.
The pair are the only drivers to win at this circuit since its 2009 inauguration into the F1 calendar, with Hamilton’s solo checkered flag coming in last season’s meeting to deny Vettel a hat-trick.
Fernando Alonso managed his best finish in last year’s race, but another second will not suffice if he wants to remain in the mix for the Driver’s Championship, which he has been in pole position to claim for the majority of the season.
However, he was well off the pace in the practice sessions and this could be the weekend that he finally falls out of contention. A fourth quickest time in P1 was still over a second slower than Hamilton’s time, while six other drivers bettered him in P2. His 7/1 to win in Abu Dhabi can be ruled out and the 8/11 that says he’ll finish on the podium is terribly poor value.
At 11/8, Jenson Button is a much safer bet to finish in the top three. He was second in a McLaren first and second in P1, while he’s achieved the feat in each of the three races in the U.A.E. He’s a big price to get his first win on this track – 9/1 – but this is superior to the one which Alonso can be backed at.
Vettel’s fantastic form means there is little room to oppose the notion of Red Bull providing the winning car, yet the performances of the McLaren men, particularly in P1, breathes life into their chances of sending out the victorious vehicle – 7/4 says the British-based team will get the win.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date