Hamilton on pole in China – but rain sends F1 into the unknown

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A sensational lap put Lewis Hamilton on pole position for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, but the race itself promises to be an entirely different affair.

Rain is forecast throughout race day, and this new-look Formula One with its wider tyres and more aggressive cars are yet to run in anger in wet weather.

Friday’s practice sessions were a washout due to the conditions, so all 10 teams and 20 drivers will be heading into the unknown when the lights go out.

Hamilton’s wet-weather prowess ensures he remains 4/5 favourite to land his first win of the season, with Sebastian Vettel next up at 6/4.

But there is always value to be found in races where the weather has a say.

Valtteri Bottas looks a solid each-way bet at 11/1, with Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen similarly so at 14s.

Red Bull have been left lagging behind in dry running this season, but come race day, plenty might find Daniel Ricciardo too good to ignore at 25/1.

Similarly, Max Verstappen is chalked up at 33s. The Dutch superstar starts from right down the field due to technical problems in qualifying, but should we see a few Safety Car periods then the Red Bull ace can’t be ruled out.

Our F1 expert Chris Medland tipped up a points finish for Fernando Alonso this weekend, and the Spaniard is well-placed to do so at at 6/4 after qualifying 13th.

Jolyon Palmer is also well-priced for a top-10 result, after his qualifying efforts were hampered by yellow flags.

The Briton’s Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg showcased the team’s pace with seventh on the grid, so don’t be surprised to see Palmer ease his way through the pack tomorrow.

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

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