Russian Grand Prix Review

Critics of the Formula 1 season – and there was certainly no lack of them eager to take a pop at the sport just a few months ago – must have been eating their words at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday. The latest outing in the season went down as the most exciting and dramatic races yet and fans enjoyed every minute of it.

The Russian Grand Prix took place in Sochi on Sunday, following a weekend of practice and qualifying around the same track. The live coverage was provided by Sky Sports and a bumper audience took in the race, watching live at the track or following the coverage on their televisions, desktop computers and mobile apps.

Followers of F1 have never had things as good as they do now, certainly in terms of coverage, and the live-action is also boosted by an abundance of exciting betting markets. You can spice up your enjoyment of the round with a bet and there are a number of exciting markets available. These include race winner, a podium finish, points finish, fastest lap, safety car and plenty more besides. Enjoying the drama of live Formula 1 racing is great, but it can’t quite compare to earning a financial profit from the results by correctly predicting who winners and losers of the day.

Bare Results Don’t Tell the Story

The bare results show British driver Lewis Hamilton recorded an overdue win that pushed him back towards another driver’s championship title and he had Valterri Bottas – the other Mercedes driver in second – with Charles Leclerc of Ferrari back in third on the final step of the podium. That makes for interesting reading, but the results page doesn’t even begin to tell the story of a drama-filled Russian Grand Prix that will live long in the memory of those who followed.

The starting grid had a very different look about it to the finishing pack. We saw Charles Leclerc come out on top during qualifying as Ferrari threatened another big performance that would surely blow the title race wide open. Lewis Hamilton was second on the grid and eager to make a return to winning ways after seeing rivals eat away at his overall lead. He was confident in his ability to improve a place but knew he would get nothing for free in Russia, a track that is extremely demanding. Valtteri Bottas finished second and achieved that despite starting fourth at the beginning of the race. He had much work to do to force his way onto the podium and his achievements shouldn’t be ignored.

Lewis Hamilton recorded a winning time of 1.33.38.992 and the fastest lap of 1.35.761. He boosted his championship tally by 26 points and that should be enough to ensure he goes on to do as expected and win another drivers championship. McLaren is already weighed in as winners of the constructor’s championship and will bag the prize without encountering too much fuss between now and the end of the season, barring some kind of sporting miracle that allows Ferrari back into the running. They are a team with bigger fish to fry.

Vettel Ignores his Team’s Instructions

Lewis Hamilton may have won the race, but he was handed victory after rival Sebastian Vettel chose to ignore orders from his team. It was another Grand Prix where the Ferrari pit team made as many headlines as their drivers. They famously instructed Leclerc to allow Vettel to pass recently and were again in the spotlight when choosing to turn the tables. The team’s pre-race plan was for Leclerc and Vettel to combine to remove the risk of Hamilton and end the Brit’s challenge early.

Leclerc was to allow Vettel an early lead before the drivers would then swap positions and race to a finish, banking as many points for the team as possible. It worked a treat until Vettel refused instruction over the radio to allow Leclerc back into a lead. It was embarrassing for both Vettel and the team but they decided to go through with the change later in the race and it happened in the pits when the younger driver benefited from fresh tyres that saw him move back in front.

Things then went from bad to worse as Vettel’s car developed a problem and it became obvious very quickly he wouldn’t finish the race. His problems allowed the safety car to make an appearance and that made it easier for Hamilton to hold onto the lead he had gained during the Ferrari pit stops. From a commanding position and looking like they could land a one-two in the Russian Grand Prix, things quickly unravelled for Ferrari. That stirred the pot further and tensions are now said to be at breaking point in the team. There’s a power struggle going on and that’s as interesting as anything the red fury do on track at the minute.

Hamilton Closes in on Title

The driver’s championship leader board now has Lewis Hamilton in pole position with 322 points on the board thanks to nine Grand Prix victories. That leaves him ahead of teammate Valterri Bottas who has 249 points and two victories. Other drivers who have managed to win two Grand Prix titles this season are Charles Leclerc in third on 215 points and Max Verstappen in fourth for Red Bull on 212. We look down to fifth in the list for former champion Sebastian Vettel who has 194 points and won just one Grand Prix.

The outright betting has Lewis Hamilton nailed on to win the title and those hoping to support the Englishman with their hard-earned cash are likely to be scared off by his 1/100 price tag which is available on the Betfair Exchange. Charles Leclerc is thought to be the main danger but he has been priced up as a 66/1 shot and that tells the story of how traders expect the rest of this season to go.