Hamilton out to reign in Spain once more

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Lewis Hamilton

Having had to endure a frustrating first three races of the new Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton is back on top as the teams gear up for the often unpredictable Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.

The reigning Drivers’ champion’s win in Azerbaijan, a victory that even Hamilton admitted was lucky, has put him four points clear at the top of the standings but he’s by no means sitting pretty.

As the first four races have proven, Mercedes’¬†advantage from previous years has been seriously eroded with Ferrari possessing arguably as fast a car now.

Sebastian Vettel could have made it three wins out of four in Baku had he not made an error late on, ruining his tyres as he was forced to settle for fourth.

The German is the 6/4 favourite to get back to winning ways in Spain with the Scuderia having claimed seven team victories since the Grand Prix was switched to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 1991.

It was at this track where Ferrari laid down the challenge to Mercedes in winter testing as they posted the fastest times of pre-season.

Now it is time for Mercedes to respond and Hamilton can be backed at the inviting odds of 33/20 to make it back-to-back wins having taken the chequered flag at the same venue last season.

The Brit is one of just two drives to win this race twice since Michael Schumacher’s era of dominance ended in 2004, the Spanish Grand Prix often throwing up a shock winner, including Pastor, aka Crastor, Maldonado in 2012.

With that in mind, it is not out of the question that it is neither Vettel or Hamilton who finish in first place with the in-form Valtteri Bottas having a good opportunity to end up atop the podium.

The Finn should have won in Baku before a late puncture and having recorded back-to-back second place finishes before then, his odds of 8/1 to win look worth a punt. He is 1/1 to finish in the top three.

Red Bull could do with a response after their laughable race-ending collision in Azerbaijan and Max Verstappen has happy memories of this track having become the youngest-ever Grand Prix winner in 2016.

The Dutchman is yet to finish on the podium this year but can put that right at odds of 13/10.

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