Everybody expected a Ferrari backlash this season but not many predicted that Sebastian Vettel would be leading by 25 points at this stage of the campaign. The German, a four-time world champion with Red Bull Racing, has been sublime in 2017, finishing on the podium in all six races so far.
With three victories in those events, Vettel has managed to open up a healthy lead over closest rival Lewis Hamilton but the Mercedes man will fancy his chance of closing the gap in the coming weeks. For now, attention remains primarily on this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix – it might give us a better indication on who will claim the world title this season...
Vettel hasn’t put a foot wrong so far this season and he deserves to be clear in the running for the world title. The Ferrari man is motivated by glory and will be full of confidence after an immense start to the season. Both Mercedes drivers are still very much involved in the race for the crown but Vettel has a firm grip on Formula One and he will be difficult to beat.
With plenty of points to be won and lost, it would be foolish to suggest that Vettel’s current lead is unassailable. However, the 3/5 available for a world title win represents decent value considering his talent. Although perhaps not as naturally talented as Hamilton, Vettel has a unique ability to fend off rivals whilst out in front and he rarely relinquishes a lead on track.
Meanwhile, Hamilton has failed to inspire confidence but remains just 25 points behind the Ferrari man. In essence, an engine failure or crash for Vettel could allow Hamilton to narrow the gap in the race for the championship. Given time, the Briton will close the gap; history shows that he tends to perform better in the second half of the calendar...
13/10 for the Mercedes star to mount a comeback success isn’t bad but it might be wise for Hamilton backers to see how he performs in Montreal before placing a bet. In years gone by, it has been a favourable track for the Brit and victory in Canada could spur him on in his bid to secure another world title. Watch this space; Hamilton is by no means out of contention.
A LOOK AT THE CANADIAN GRAND PRIX
Incredibly, Hamilton has won this race five times and it may prove prudent to side with the British driver this weekend. In 2015 and 2016, he held off stiff competition to finish top of the podium and a third successive victory in Montreal could be on the cards.
Vettel, second to Hamilton in this race last year, will be quietly confident in his own ability to defy the odds this weekend. Qualifying on pole could be crucial, especially if Hamilton slips down the grid – just as he did last time out in Monaco.
If you’re looking for an outsider to upset the party, look no further than Max Verstappen. If truth be told, Red Bull have struggled to compete with both Ferrari and Mercedes this year but the Canadian Grand Prix is usually unpredictable and an engine failure or crash could put the young Belgian right in the mix. At 2/1 to finish on the podium, he is certainly worth considering.
TIP: Lewis Hamilton to win @ 11/10
OUTSIDER: Max Verstappen to finish on the podium @ 2/1