Ricciardo’s Odds Improve for Azerbaijan GP 2018
April 24, 2018
Daniel Ricciardo’s odds for the next Grand Prix significantly jumped after finishing first in Chinese GP this season.
Lewis Hamilton’s and Sebastian Vettel’s odds, on the other hand, plunged because the two racers failed to reach the podium in Shanghai last week. Can Ricciardo beat Hamilton and Vettel again at Azerbaijan’s Baku City Circuit like last year?
With Ricciardo proving himself in the last Grand Prix and his historic win in the first Azerbaijan GP, which is the former European Grand Prix, sportsbooks see him repeating last year’s results. Meanwhile, Hamilton and his Mercedes crew are determined to end the drought this season in Azerbaijan GP 2018.
Ricciardo Outraces Top Favored Drivers
William Hill gives Ricciardo 9.00 odds to win while NetBet sets him with 9.75 odds. The Red Bull driver’s recent success in China and his win in Baku City last year may have influenced bookmakers to improve his odds for the next Grand Prix.
Team Red Bull showed everyone in Shanghai that it too can strategize in using the pit stops to its advantage as Ferrari had just done in Bahrain. In the first round of pit stops, Red Bull double-stacked its drivers for fresh soft tires, while Mercedes and Ferrari decided to keep its drivers out on the track. This move ensured that the two drivers had fresh tires at the same time which provided Ricciardo and Max Verstappen with optimum road performance.
The two Red Bull drivers entered the pits together again when the safety car appeared in mid-race. This gave Ricciardo and Verstappen the same advantage as Vettel had in Australian GP 2018. Red Bull drivers got a fresh set of tires while other racers drove to a slow crawl while the safety car was out.
With a fresh set of tires and the safety car out of the way, Ricciardo flew throughout the last part of the race. He outraced Kimi Räikkönen, Bottas, Vettel, and even the favored Hamilton as he took the lead in the 45th lap. The Red Bull driver finished nearly nine seconds ahead of Bottas and 10 seconds away from Räikkönen.
Hamilton Barely Gets Point Advantage over Vettel
Despite the poor performance in Shanghai, Hamilton and Vettel still receive strong trust from bookmakers. Hamilton gets 2.20 odds from William Hill and 2.00 odds from NetBet. Vettel gets some mixed reactions, however, as NetBet gives him 2.60 odds while William Hill sets him with 3.50 odds to win.
Shanghai was an important opportunity for Hamilton to stop Vettel from gaining more points. In a way, the Mercedes driver succeeded in his objective. But his improved drivers standing score is not the result of superior driving.
Hamilton hardly appeared like a world champion in Shanghai when his Mercedes teammate beat him in qualifying. Throughout the main Grand Prix, Hamilton found it difficult to make any headway. The only reason why the Briton driver took fourth while Vettel finished at eighth place was Verstappen.
Verstappen had the same advantage as his Red Bull teammate, but he slammed into Vettel at the hairpin on the 43rd lap. Fortunately, for both drivers, the collision did not put them out of the race.
Even though Verstappen finished fourth, ahead of Hamilton, he was docked with a 10-second penalty because of the clash that landed the Red Bull driver at fifth place. Vettel’s car had a damaged floor, which made him struggle toward eighth place.
Despite Verstappen’s brazen attitude costing him the podium, sportsbooks stance remains nearly unchanged. NetBet sets him at 9.75 odds while William Hill gives him 9.00 odds like his Red Bull teammate.
With three winless Grand Prix this season, Hamilton plans to apply pressure to his constructor team that will find ways to give his Mercedes more speed. They will work on improving Mercedes pace in the qualifying and race in Azerbaijan. Time will tell if Hamilton still has what it takes to win a fifth championship. It might even be Ferrari or Red Bull’s driver’s turn to claim it this season.