After winning his seventh Grand Prix in a row, a feat achieved by only three other drivers in the history of Formula One, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg managed to emit grace in great victory when talking up struggling teammate Lewis Hamilton’s chances of swift recovery.
Of course, having won the F1 drivers’ championship for the past two years, this is no ordinary teammate, and while rotten luck so far this term has left Hamilton playing catch up, his rallying second in Russia suggests there’s life in the Brit’s 6/4 title defence.
Rosberg certainly seems to think so, with these comments after the race speaking volumes:
“I am well aware Lewis is going to bounce back when he has a clean weekend and it will be the usual tough battle against him…
“Yes, I have a good points lead but there are 425 points to go and I have only a 43-point lead. It is completely not worth talking about.
“Lewis is driving as strong as ever. For sure he will bounce back massively.”
Nobody could know better than the 30-year-old German, who led the drivers’ championship from the sixth to the 14th race two years ago, with Hamilton going on a run of one win in seven during that period, largely owing to bad luck and even some Rosberg shenanigans in Belgium.
The Stevenage native rallied after that Spa-Francorchamp clash, taking six of the last seven races of the season and his second title, followed by a third just 11 months and 16 races later, after 10 GP victories in 2015.
A driver probably at his peak with two years of sustained success behind him, Hamilton’s woes must be down to bad fortune, and with Rosberg’s engine whistling along smoothly, pressure on the Mercedes garage to get their biggest gun firing again will be colossal.
Rosberg is 8/15 to win his maiden drivers’ championship this year. His odds may not get any bigger, but that doesn’t make him a good bet.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing