Hamilton a healthy price for fast start in Bahrain
The desert venue of Bahrain causes an annual headache for the F1 teams with the Grand Prix circuit covered in sand and dust throughout the weekend, but especially so on the Friday.
The net result is that first practice is often a bit of a lottery, allowing for good value in the Practice 1 Fastest Driver market.
Only Red Bull and Mercedes have topped the opening session in the three races this season, and Sebastian Vettel is an attractive 7/2 to finish Friday morning’s action at the top of the time sheets.
Team-mate Mark Webber is at 5/1 but he may well be on the back foot after his disastrous weekend in China, but the Mercedes men remain a promising punt.
Four long straights around the Sakhir track place a high demand on top-end grunt, something in which Mercedes have been leaving their rivals trailing in recent years, especially the Renault-powered Red Bulls.
As a result, each of the last four opening practice sessions at the Bahrain circuit have seen a Mercedes-powered car produce the fastest time.
Mercedes’s form in China adds further support to their chances here, after Nico Rosberg claimed the fastest time in Shanghai’s first practice, while Lewis Hamilton took pole position.
Hamilton is 9/2 to top the opening timesheet, with stable-mate Rosberg at 5/1.
There isn’t much to split the duo, but with Rosberg suffering a host of car issues already this season, the reliable bet is on the 2008 world champion.
The outside punt is Kimi Raikkonen at 12/1. The Finn has been one of the strongest drivers in the field this season and should be quick out of the blocks in a car that easily gets up to speed on the notoriously temperamental Pirelli tyres.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing