McLaren the fancies for Chinese Grand Prix but Raikkonen a danger

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Lewis Hamilton is the 9/4 favourite to take the chequered flag first in Shaghai in a repeat of last year’s victory as the F1 season heads for China.

Hamilton has won around this circuit twice in the last four years and he has been consistent so far this season, with two third-place finishes.

These have him placed nicely in the drivers’ championship and a win here could propel him to the top of those standings.

Shanghai is not one of the most popular races on the calendar amongst the drivers, thanks to a lack of real enthusiasm for the sport within the country, but the track has produced enthralling contests in the past, due to the differing pit stop strategies and the high level of overtaking opportunities on offer.

Fernando Alonso sits atop the rankings and after a torrid time throughout winter testing and poor qualifying, it is to the Spaniard’s credit that he has taken the points he has.

Alonso won here back in 2005 whilst driving for Renault but it would be a great surprise to see him victorious again at 8/1.

Punters looking for a longer shot should look no further than Kimi Raikkonen. The Finnish driver is at 16/1 to claim his first victory since returning to the sport. He has made a solid start to this season with a fifth and a seventh so far but he has form around Shaghai after winning here in 2007.

Red Bull have struggled in qualifying but their race pace has been good and with Sebastian Vettel a winner here in 2009 and Mark Webber ahead of the German in the drivers’ championship they will undoubtedly be a threat in China.

McLaren seem to have married their qualifying and race paces better than any other team and with their drivers winning three of the last four times round here it is hard to look elsewhere.

Jenson Button is second favourite behind Hamilton at 5/2, to triumph at a circuit where he produced a scintillating drive to win in 2010.

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