Lewis Hamilton will look to extend his advantage in the Drivers’ Championship with a strong performance at the Malaysian Grand Prix as F1 bids farewell to Sepang.
This weekend’s race will bring the curtain down on an 18-year stint on the Formula 1 calendar for Malaysia, the government deeming it not financially viable to continue hosting the event.
Hamilton, for one, is sad to see the back of the energy-sapping Grand Prix, despite having only ever won once at Sepang.
That doesn’t tell the whole tale of Mercedes’ dominance of the Malaysian GP in the V6 era though, Hamilton starting on pole for the last three years, only for bad luck and poor team planning to scupper him in two of those races.
The Brit was cruising to victory last year when his car suffered a mechanical failure and will hope lady luck is smiling upon him this time around as he bids to extend his 28-point lead in the world championship.
The 32-year-old is the 5/6 favourite to claim the chequered flag for the fourth race in succession having taken a strangle hold on the drivers’ title since the summer break.
Sebastian Vettel is 39/20 to trim Hamilton’s lead with a win in what has become a must-win race for the German after the disastrous Singapore Grand Prix.
The four-time world champion was fancied to come out on top at Marina Bay but blew his chances in what could be the turning point in the title race. He’ll hope to make it past the first corner this weekend as he bids for a fifth win in Sepang.
Ferrari might be closer to their Mercedes’ adversaries than some expect this weekend given they showed good straight line speed, key in Malaysia, when running the Silver Arrows close in Belgium.
With that in mind, Kimi Raikkonen to secure a podium finish at 7/4 may prove worthwhile.
The Red Bull’s can’t be ignored on this circuit either and fresh from finishing second in Singapore, Daniel Ricciardo is 8/5 to end up in the top three once more.
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