Lewis Hamilton has been in magnificent form since Formula 1 returned from the summer break. The 2017 season has been full of twists so far, but now it seems like a gap is opening up between the Mercedes driver and the chasing pack. Can that lead extend through this weekend’s Grand Prix in Malaysia? This hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Mercedes of late, so this could be an opportunity for the chasing pack to close the gap ahead of the run-in.

Hamilton out to end poor run in Malaysia

While Mercedes dominated the 2016 title race, this was the one place where that didn’t go to plan whatsoever. At the business end of the season with both drivers fighting for top spot, the Malaysian Grand Prix ended with a Red Bull 1-2 finish, highlighting Mercedes’ struggles at this circuit. Everything may be gong perfectly for them now, but could this weekend be a turning point as Ferrari look to close the gap?

Sebastian Vettel needs to hope he can close the gap here, or else he risks going into a crucial period of the campaign with momentum against him. There are four races across the next five weekends, so a poor run now would end any hope he has of finishing top. Having looked under par since returning from the summer break, Vettel needs something big to turn the tide. He’s currently out at 9/2 with Betfred to win the Driver’s Championship title, with Lewis Hamilton priced at 1/7 with Coral after his recent strong showings.

That doesn’t give Vettel much hope of turning things around, but Nico Rosberg looked destined to finish behind Hamilton at one stage last season. However, a turnaround in form shot the challenger into the lead, and that’s what Vettel needs ahead of a busy few weeks. Can he get his title challenge into gear by adding to Mercedes’ misery at this circuit?

Hamilton comes in to this race knowing that Mercedes have won just once here since 2010, including their poor showing last year. Meanwhile, Vettel has won more times on his own than the Silver Arrows since 2013, while he’s looking for a record breaking fifth victory at this race. With recent history pointing towards a tough weekend for Hamilton, we can’t see past a win for Vettel at a huge 5/2 with Betfair. Given that he needs victories to boost his title push, that looks like a fantastic price.

Before placing your bets on the Malaysian Grand Prix, you should take a look at the latest betting odds on our odds comparison. It compares markets from a wide range of events and gives you the best price available, securing extra returns for your winning bets. After all, you don’t want to settle for a shorter price when it’s this easy to find the best odds available. If you’re following our betting tips or predictions of your own, odds comparison is a valuable tool when it comes to placing a bet.

Who else could take advantage of Mercedes’ struggles?

Mercedes opened the door for Red Bull in this race 12 months ago, which capped off a wonderful season for Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. The quality of their performances last year suggested that Red Bull could impress this time around, but they didn’t make the greatest of starts as Ferrari stormed into pole position as the challengers to Mercedes.

This weekend offers another opportunity to Red Bull, with the Austrian outfit impressing in recent races anyway. Ricciardo was seen as the best of the rest outside of the Mercedes duo last season, and he’s kicked on to push for a strong finish this time around. The Australian has been picking up some good finishes of late, despite stiff competition.

Red Bull are nowhere near challenging for the Constructors’ Championship, clocking in at a huge 4000/1 with Bet365 to win that title. Mercedes are obvious favourites for that one, best priced at just 1/200 with Ladbrokes to hold on to top spot. However, Red Bull have made strides forward thanks to Ricciardo’s recent results. The Australian has some good experience in Malaysia too, having won this race last season.

Ricciardo has impressed by taking a top three finish in seven of his last 10 races, despite facing tough competition from Ferrari and Mercedes. He’s never really linked with a podium finish, but he’s in consistent form heading into a circuit where the favourites could struggle. With Hamilton possibly slipping from the top, there’s also a strong chance that Valtteri Bottas struggles to make the podium here.

We think that Ricciardo is massively overpriced to finish in the top three this weekend, he can be backed at 7/4 with Ladbrokes to make the podium. Given his record of late, that price looks far too big in our eyes, so we’re backing him to impress once again, and follow up his victory in Malaysia with another strong showing. We also think the Australian is worth a look on the outright market, where he’s currently priced at a huge 20/1 with Betfair. That’s certainly worth an each-way punt on current form.


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