Mercedes juggernaut back on the road but tensions are on the up

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It was almost as if the Malaysian Grand Prix had never happened, and Ferrari hadn’t in fact given Mercedes something to think about in Sepang, as Lewis Hamilton ran the field ragged in China.

The defending champion took the spoils in every possible way in Shanghai, starting on pole, before taking the race in simplistic style, bagging the fastest lap accolade in the process.

That victory moves the Stevenage man on to 68 points for the season and sees his odds at a very skinny 2/9 to retain his title.

But frankly, the only real threat to his crown looks to be his team-mate, and Hamilton seems to constantly come out on top over Nico Rosberg.

The German accused the eventual winner of deliberately backing him up behind the safety car on Sunday, allowing Sebastien Vettel in third to gain ground.

However on the podium, the aforementioned Vettel summed up the weekend perfectly.

“That was a bit of an anti-climax, wasn’t it?” the three-time world champion said to a nonplussed Rosberg after the race.

There were however, some hints that the Ferrari revival is still alive, with Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen filling third and fourth spot.

The truth though is that the Mercedes car is simply faster at the moment.

So with Hamilton on a roll, can anyone stop him justifying odds of 4/9 that he takes the chequered flag in Bahrain next week?

Mechanical problems may be the best rival constructors can hope for, but Rosberg looks in with a real shout at 5/2.

The 29-year-old has started on pole the last two seasons at the track, yet has let that lead slip, as early as the first corner 12 months ago.

He clearly gets on with the track, and will just need to be more defensive with his tactics if he is to hit the front in the Middle East, and he will take some pegging back.

With tensions on the rise in the Mercedes garage, don’t expect his team-mate to let him have the lead easily though.

Hamilton’s form of falling out with his apparent colleagues doesn’t bode well for a friendly campaign ahead.

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

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.