With precisely zero previous track form to go on when Formula One hits Russia for the first time this weekend, innovative means of picking side bets from Ladbrokes.com’s multitude of markets must be sought.
The last new country to host one of motor racing’s main events was India, with the first competitive laps around the Buddh International Circuit coming back in 2011.
Sebastian Vettel produced a near-clean sweep on that occasion, taking Q2 and Q3, poll and the race outright.
The four-time F1 title winning Red Bull man is bereft of victories this term, but podiums in his last two races makes Vettel seem big at 7/4 for another top-three finish.
However, there may be a couple more offbeat clues to take from the sub-continent’s inaugural F1 running.
At the 2011 Indian Grand Prix, every car in Q1 was slower than that of Renault’s Vitaly Petrov, who finished the season 10th in the drivers’ championship.
The return of Formula One to Austria this term, after a 13-year hiatus, threw up similarly surprising results in qualifying, where only Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg went quicker than Torro Rosso’ Daniil Kvyat in Q1, with Williams’ Felipe Massa eventually taking pole.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was the fourth-quickest driver in Q1, going on to claim the fastest lap at the Red Bull Ring in the race proper. The Force India man looks overpriced at 40/1 to repeat that feat in Sochi.
The third piece of form that might translate from India’s first foray into F1 is that of Jenson Button, who bagged the third-quickest time in Q1 back in 2011 before finishing runner-up on the Sunday, 16 seconds ahead of third-placed Fernando Alonso, despite starting fifth on the grid.
Button has notched seven top-six finishes from 15 Grand Prix so far in 2014, including twice in the past four rounds. First time up in Russia, the McLaren Brit looks a tidy price at 7/4 for more of the same.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £100 in free bets.