Lengthy Russian GP circuit will test Mercedes’ reliability

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With four races left in the Formula One season, Lewis Hamilton’s imperious form has made him clear favourite to win the Drivers Championship.

The British racer’s three consecutive wins have seen his odds of overall victory drop to 4/11, while teammate Nico Rosberg is available at 9/4 despite being just 10 points behind.

However, Hamilton’s magnificent recent run might well come unstuck in Russia, as both the length and novelty of the Sochi circuit will be making Mercedes sweat.

Both the current leader and Rosberg have suffered from reliability issues this season, retiring from five races between them, and the longer circuits in particular have caused them trouble.

Sochi clocks in at the third longest track on the calendar, with only Silverstone and Spa longer, and both of those races saw Mercedes retirements.

Rosberg was leading the Drivers Championship when he ground to a halt at the British GP, while Hamilton finished early in Belgium, albeit due to a collision rather than any internal issue with the car.

Hamilton is 4/6 favourite to win the inaugural Russian Grand Prix, with Rosberg second in the betting at 2/1.

Next is Daniel Ricciardo, the only non-Mercedes man to win a race this season, whose 10/1 odds might be considered a tad generous.

Mercedes’ reliability issues could flare up again and even if they don’t, Rosberg and Hamilton might put each other out of contention as they did at Spa, where Ricciardo triumphed after their collision.

The other man who might fancy his chances of a first win if Sochi’s length undoes Mercedes is Sebastien Vettel, who has finished above his teammate Ricciardo in each of the past two events and is priced at 14/1 to win in Russia.

The four-time World Champion is set to leave Red Bull after a horrible year, but two podium finishes in the last two races might indicate a run of form that could see him capitalise on any Mercedes mistakes.

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

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