Hamilton has ground to cover in China

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Formula 1 heads to China this weekend and champion Lewis Hamilton already has a gap to recover on early pacesetter Sebastian Vettel.

The Ferrari star has a perfect record with two wins in as many races so far and the performance of the Scuderia car in Bahrain last time out suggested they may have the pace to end Mercedes’ recent dominance by claiming some silverware this season.

The German is 33/20 to win the China GP outright and he has managed some decent results in Shanghai having finished on the podium in each of the last three years.

However, Vettel hasn’t managed a victory in China since 2009 – at the time just his second GP victory – and it is a circuit where Silver Arrows star Hamilton has enjoyed considerable success.

The Briton and four-time world champion has five wins at the Shanghai International Circuit, more than any other driver, and is the 1/1 favourite to claim maximum points this weekend.

Hamilton claimed his first win of the season in China last year and has won three of the last four editions of the race, and will be desperate for victory this weekend as he is already 17 points behind Vettel in the drivers’ standings.

Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen has endured a tougher start to the season after failing to finish the Bahrain GP.

The Finn is 2/1 to claim a podium place and that looks good value if he can enjoy better luck, as the 2007 world champion has been strong in qualifying and he did finish on the podium in Australia.

If you’re looking for an outsider to claim a podium spot Fernando Alonso is worth a mention at 25/1.

Admittedly, McLaren look behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of pace but he has still managed points in the first two races and his last podium came in Shanghai four years ago during his time with Ferrari.

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