Having been forced to watch Sebastian Vettel spraying champagne from the top step in Malaysia it appears Lewis Hamilton is a man on a mission heading into the weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix.
The world champion has always enjoyed the challenge of the Shanghai International Circuit, winning a record three races,and having been kept from the chequered flag in Sepang, Hamilton was imperious during Friday’s free practice in China.
He topped the time charts in both sessions by around half a second on each occasion, firstly from Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg before bettering Ferrari’s Kimi Raikonnen’s best lap time by 0.44 seconds.
The fact Ferrari were still among the fastest laps indicates another exciting race lies in wait, though on average Hamilton was 0.7 seconds ahead of Vettel.
“There are things we can improve on but generally the car was feeling good,” said Hamilton. “It was just nice to get the preparation in, which puts me in a good position for the weekend.
“The Ferraris look like they are just as quick as in the last race but hopefully we’re quicker.”
All this points to a bet on Hamilton to secure a third straight pole position of the season and indeed a third successive start from the front of the grid in China.
The price of 3/10 will hardly set the pulse racing but with so much evidence to back this up, it falls into banker-of-the-weekend territory, barring any unforeseen drama.
In capturing pole at the Shanghai International Circuit over the last two seasons, Hamilton has won by 0.277 and 0.405 of a second respectively.
So given his dominance in free practice, the 6/4 on offer about a winning qualifying margin of 0.301 secs or greater looks the pick.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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