Formula 1 heads to the streets of Baku for the second year running for the inaugural Azerbaijan Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton fancied to record successive victories for the first time this season.
Mercedes were in ominous form last time out in Canada as Hamilton stormed to the chequered flag to complete a near flawless weekend for the three-time world champion.
The Silver Arrows have found it tough to get the best out of their W08 at times this season, most notably in Monaco where Hamilton struggled badly, prompting team boss Toto Wolff to brand their car a “diva”.
A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes though and victory in Canada was perhaps a sign of things to come.
Mercedes were a second a lap quicker around the streets of Baku last year, or at least Nico Rosberg was, as he led from start to finish to win what was then called the European Grand Prix.
Hamilton will hope a change in name for the race brings about a change in fortunes for him, the Brit having had a poor qualifying session 12 months ago before having his race ruined by a technical issue.
The 32-year-old had to settle for fifth in the end but is the 4/5 favourite to come out on top this Sunday. If that does not take your fancy then Hamilton to record the fastest lap time at 13/10 might be worth a look given how quick Mercedes were last year.
Hamilton does not have the best record when it comes to street circuits but this is not your usual road race with the tight corners complemented by long straights as old meets new in the ever-changing city of Baku.
The long straights means power will be key, likely ruling out anyone breaking the duopoly Ferrari and Mercedes have had on race wins this year.
Sebastian Vettel had a weekend to forget in Canada as he saw his lead in the Drivers’ Championship cut to 12 points and he is 33/20 to bounce back with a victory.
The Ferrari’s were dominant around the streets of Monaco in May and it will likely be another tight battle between Formula 1’s top two for the chequered.
Red Bull might hope to have a say in matters given Daniel Ricciardo’s three successive podium finishes.
He is a tempting 15/4 to end up in the top three again this week, while his team mate Max Verstappen is 7/2. The teenager has had some rotten luck with technical issues of late so if Red Bull can get that right he could be in the mix.
Finally, Nico Hulkenberg has impressed recently in the improving Renault, recording four top-10 finishes in his last five races. He is therefore worth a look at 35/4 to score points in Azerbaijan.
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