The Formula One title race is heading towards a thrilling conclusion, with just six races to go, including this weekend’s Malaysian GP.
Nico Rosberg has won three races in a row – in Belgium, Italy and Singapore – to overtake Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and reclaim top spot in the standings.
The German now has an eight-point gap and is the form man, but he is taking nothing for granted ahead of the next leg of F1’s world tour.
“It’s an incredible position to be in as a driver, knowing you have a shot at winning every weekend,” he said. “I won’t take it for granted. I’ve had a good run lately and I’m enjoying the moment. But as far as the next race goes, the next one after that and so on – it’s anyone’s game.”
Hamilton was an overwhelming favourite to defend the championship just a few weeks ago, but he now faces a battle to the end with Rosberg after seeing the performance of his car drop, as well as his form.
However, the Briton still goes into the weekend as the favourite for the Malaysia GP – he can be backed at 5/4 – while Rosberg is offered at a best price of 31/20.
“Singapore was a difficult weekend for me, so to come away with a podium in the circumstances was pretty good damage limitation,” said Hamilton after braking issues affected his progress.
But is there more value to be found in the odds for Sunday’s race? Let’s take a look.
Where does the betting value lie?
Hamilton has been on the podium four times in a row at Sepang, winning the race in 2014, so recent history suggests he will be in for a big points haul at the Malaysia GP.
Rosberg has never won this race before, on the other hand, while Hamilton’s 2014 victory is the only time a Mercedes driver has topped the podium in the last six years.
Sebastian Vettel had to start on the back of the grid last week but still ensured a decent points total by working his way through the field and had he started in a good position he would likely have been on the podium.
Vettel has won four of the last six Malaysian GPs, so while his odds of 12/1 to win may be a bit ambitious, a price of 11/8 for him to finish in the top three has to be worth considering.
Another tip for a podium place is Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who has shown good pace all season, recording a 50-point advantage over team-mate Max Verstappen and finishing on the podium four out of the last five races. He can be backed at 5/4 to be in the top three this weekend.
But for the winner, it is hard to look beyond Hamilton and Rosberg, with Verstappen the only driver to have broken the Mercedes monopoly on F1 so far this season.
Rosberg’s winning streak will come to an end at some point, but the German is full of confidence, while it has been a damaging few weeks for Hamilton and there are doubts over his car.
While Hamilton’s experience in title races will become even more important in the next few weeks as the end of the season rapidly approaches, Rosberg to win at 31/20 is the more appealing bet.