Mercedes in trouble at Monaco? Hamilton struggles as Vettel flies

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As is Monaco Grand Prix tradition, the opening practice sessions of the weekend took place this Thursday – and threw up plenty of surprises in the process.

Having tipped up Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel earlier in the week, we’re feeling pretty smug at Ladbrokes News HQ right now.

The four-time champion scorched around the Principality – breaking the lap-record in the process – during the afternoon’s second session.

Vettel was half-a-second quicker than anyone else, and the German will have been relieved and confused to see rivals Mercedes well down the order.

As has been mooted, the Silver Arrows struggled to find any joy with Pirelli’s ultra-soft tyres.

Lewis Hamilton could only post the eight-fastest time in Free Practice 2, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas was 10th.

Monaco has a habit of throwing up unusual times on Thursdays, so it’s not game over for Mercedes yet.

But it doesn’t look good.

And our traders have seen fit to overhaul the odds.

Vettel, previously second-favourite at 6/4, is now odds-on at 10/11 to bring Ferrari their first win in Monte-Carlo since 2001.

Hamilton is now playing catch-up at 2/1.

The Red Bulls could be in the mix too this weekend, with Daniel Ricciardo 9/1 and Max Verstappen 10/1.

And if Torro Rosso can keep up their excellent Thursday form through to Sunday, then a podium isn’t out of reach.

Danill Kvyat is 9/1 to bag a top-three finish, with team-mate Carlos Sainz at 12/1.

Meanwhile, it was a solid return to action for Jenson Button today. The 2009 champion has come out of retirement to fill in for McLaren while Fernando Alonso contests the Indy 500.

Button kept it out of the barriers and posted competitive times, and is even-money to bag a much-needed points finish for the beleaguered Woking squad.

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

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