Headlines about Formula One are reaching well beyond the actual racing ahead of this weekend. Lewis Hamilton is in rather warm water, Felipe Massa has retired, and Ferrari are considering quitting the sport altogether if they don’t get their way.
It’s the penultimate race of the season, and, unfortunately, the excitement does not spread much further than a midfield battle. Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas are split by a mere six points. Okay, it’s not quite the title showdown the Brazilian Grand Prix organisers might have hoped for, but it’s something!
At the top of the field, Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will be desperate to avoid the sort of early prangs that sent them both to the back of the field in Mexico. No punishment was handed out for the collisions in the first few turns that deprived us of a thriller, which is a good sign for the sport.
The racing can be spectacular in the almost dead rubbers that tie up a Formula One season. Drivers have less to lose, and car management is out the window. It’s a straight shootout to notch a race victory, and, for some, a chance to earn a new, bigger contract for 2018.
To add a bit of extra fun in, the forecast is for rain in Brazil this weekend. When it rains, it tends to rain a lot there. Obviously, a wet race can make it unpredictable. Picking a winner is even tougher, but Hamilton at 11/10 as favourite to stand atop the podium is still good value.
The Mercedes struggled for pace in Mexico City. Forced into a high-downforce setup, their power was less effective and Max Verstappen took pole. The flying Verstappen is out at a surprisingly long 5/1 to make it two-in-a-row. I find it hard to see much better offerings in the qualification market with Hamilton at a disappointingly short 13/20.
Verstappen has his own special at 11/1 to win the remaining two Grand Prix events. Red Bull have fought back strongly in the second half of 2017, but the reliability issues with the Renault engine make this a tricky one to back. The youngster is at 5/2 – and second favourite – to win the Drivers’ Championship in 2018, however. He has, though, talked down a Red Bull revival next year.
Amidst the chaos in Mexico, Kimi Raikkonen notched his second podium in a row. The Finn is 5/2 to make it three. It’s not exactly the best price of the season, but the calm veteran is a perhaps worth backing to negotiate his way through a potential hectic rainy race.
Eyes are on Formula One considering all the news that has broken over the last couple of weeks. There have been some stunning Grand Prix in Brazil in the past, and we could be in for another stunner.
Even with potentially adverse conditions, if Hamilton can yet pole it’s hard to see past the Brit. The race needs to see the World Champion fight his way through the field, just as Vettel was tasked with in Mexico.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*