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Can Vettel Pull Off a Hat Trick in Chinese GP 2018?

Date Posted: April 13, 2018

With Vettel winning Bahrain GP 2018 by the skin of his teeth, sportsbooks now have an improved outlook for him to win the next Grand Prix and to achieve a hat trick this season.

A win in Chinese GP 2018 this weekend, however, will not be an easy task, especially since Vettel has not won in Shanghai International Circuit since 2009. Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, is familiar and comfortable with the track, having won five titles in the said circuit—the lone racer to have done so.

These questions can be answered by looking back at some of the key moments of Bahrain.

Vettel Determined to Outrace Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel Last Won in Chinese GP in 2009With the next Grand Prix set to start in China this weekend, sportsbooks favor Hamilton to win his sixth title in Shanghai International Circuit this year. William Hill and Bet365 have the Mercedes driver at 2.00 odds.

Team Mercedes is determined to snatch its first win this season, with Hamilton saying:

“I’m really, really keen [to get that first win]. I’m glad that the races are back-to-back because we’re coming on strong. It’s going to be a close race in Shanghai. The Ferraris have shown they are incredibly quick. It’s a good track normally for me so let me see if I can get the car where I need it and really take the fight to Sebastian.”

Meanwhile, Vettel’s performance in the last race has convinced bookmakers to give him good odds. Bet365 sets the German racer at 2.75 odds to win while William Hill gives him 3.25 odds.

Vettel shows how he is more determined to keep his lead in the F1 driver’s standing. His determination is evident in his risky calls in the two last Grand Prix. One of these calls was in Bahrain wherein he kept his Ferrari on the road until the end of the race despite his tires slowly deteriorating.

There is also a matter of Ferrari’s performance in China. Shanghai’s track has many long straights which is where Vettel’s car excels at.

Hamilton sees Shanghai as a serious challenge given his rival’s aggressive driving and the Ferrari’s performance in long straights. This weekend could see the German driver winning Shanghai for the first time since 2009 when he was still with Renault.

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How Bahrain GP 2018 Went

Vettel’s second consecutive win was well-deserved after a rousing performance in the qualifiers and optimum tire management. But the title could have been Valtteri Bottas’, who was just six seconds away from the Ferrari driver.

Bottas saw an opportunity to claim first place when Vettel drove to the pit before any of the two Mercedes drivers. The Finn driver replaced his tires with hard compound ones to get a strong pace against Ferrari’s top man. With the soft tires slowly fading, Vettel made the gamble to make his tires last until the end to keep Bottas from gaining the lead. The gamble paid off, as Bottas could not get past second because of the German driver’s superior driving skills.

While Bottas had to settle for second place, his Mercedes teammate reached the podium despite starting from ninth and clashing with Red Bull’s Verstappen. Hamilton had to pull out all the stops in Bahrain to overtake multiple cars throughout the race. This included pulling off a risky maneuver of driving past both Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg at the first corner of the track.

Luck was on Mercedes’ side when Hamilton and Verstappen’s cars made contact on the fourth lap. This led to a punctured tire for the Red Bull racer while the Brit’s car was unfazed for the duration of the race.

The previous GP was a double disaster for both Red Bull drivers. While Verstappen suffered a tire puncture, Daniel Ricciardo experienced an engine failure early in the race. Bad luck also casted a shadow on Kimi Raikkonen who had to retire from the race after a botched pit stop in which he broke a crew’s leg.

Given what happened in Bahrain, Red Bull Racing could be the least of Vettel’s worries to achieve a hat trick in Shanghai. It will be both Bottas and Hamilton that the German racer needs to focus on at the Chinese GP since both are aiming to stop Ferrari from gaining significant number of points in the next race.

One thing is for sure, punters and Formula 1 fans can expect more exciting developments this weekend.

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