Desperate Vettel can deliver Japan success

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Ferrari head to the Japanese Grand Prix with everything crossed as they bid to end their run of bad luck and keep the World Drivers’ Championship fight alive this weekend.

The Scuderia have been left cursing their misfortune in Singapore and Malaysia, with Sebastian Vettel’s hopes suffering what could prove to be fatal blows at both tracks.

Having started from the back of the grid last week in Sepang, Vettel proved how strong the Ferrari is right now by cutting through the field to finish fourth.

With Mercedes’ powers waning, the Italians look primed to overtake them and Japan would be the perfect time for Vettel to take the chequered flag.

The German is 9/5 to become the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher in 2004 to win at Suzuka.

Having avoided a grid penalty after his team decided he did not need a gearbox change, the former Red Bull driver could be worth backing due to his need for a win.

Ferrari’s bad luck has allowed Lewis Hamilton to extend his lead in the drivers’ title race to 34 points, with the Brit displaying Ninja-like qualities to swoop for the win in Singapore before finishing second in Malaysia.

With Mercedes having won the last three in Japan, Hamilton is the 31/20 favourite but is best avoided given the Silver Arrows’ recent issues.

Representing the value this weekend are Red Bull, with another victory for them well worth a look as last week’s winner, Max Verstappen, is priced at 17/4 while Daniel Ricciardo is 6/1.

The Red Bulls are closing the gap on Mercedes all the time – Verstappen held off Hamilton with ease in Malaysia – and they are 5/2 to be the winning constructor in Japan.

But this weekend is a race in which Vettel cannot afford to finish behind Hamilton, otherwise he can bid sayonara to that fifth world title.

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