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If there is a Formula One race in which one could construct a good case to oppose Lewis Hamilton at short odds then it would have to be the Monaco Grand Prix, arguably the most prestigious individual event on the motor racing program.
Hamilton has just signed a new three-year Mercedes contract worth up to 27 million British pounds per year but he may not be smiling from ear to ear after Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix if his past performances in the principality are any guide. Hamilton has taken part in eight editions of the Monaco Grand Prix for one win and, more alarmingly, his numbers versus his teammates have been unspectacular.
There is no finer indication of a driver’s love for a track than his qualifying and race results compared to those of his colleague because, in theory, they are racing with identical equipment. So anyone thinking of having their house on Hamilton winning the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday should note that the British driver has qualified slower than his team-mate five times out of eight and finished behind his team-mate four times out of eight. Those are not the kind of statistics that one wants to see before getting stuck into an odds-on favourite so one is looking elsewhere.
The obvious Monaco Grand Prix alternative to Hamilton is his Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg, who is something of a track specialist. Rosberg has won each of the last two editions of the Monaco Grand Prix and his head-to-head record versus his various team-mates is excellent. Rosberg has had nine cracks at the Monaco Grand Prix and seven times he has been faster than his colleague in qualifying and seven times he has had a better race result than his colleague. If Rosberg has got back his mojo following his Spanish Grand Prix success two weeks ago then the Monaco Grand Prix is the ideal race for him to build on that success and continue to close the gap on Hamilton on the Formula One championship ladder.
Sebastian Vettel played second fiddle to Mark Webber in most editions of the Monaco Grand Prix during their Red Bull days so the German driver is hard to fancy at odds of around the +1100 mark and two-time Monaco Grand Prix winner Fernando Alonso is driving the Formula One equivalent of a Trabant.
Rosberg represents the Monaco Grand Prix value at odds of +125 with Boylesports and WilliamHill and he is likely to trade at odds on if he secures pole position for the third year in a row. Only once in the last 11 editions of the Monaco Grand Prix has the pole-sitting driver not gone on to win the race and that was in 2008 when a safety car ruined Felipe Massa’s strategy and handed the initiative to Hamilton, who took full advantage to win by 3.064 seconds from Robert Kubica, with Massa another 1.747s back in third.
Bwin is offering odds of -182 that the Monaco Grand Prix pole sitter wins the race and, if you are okay with taking short odds, that looks like a reasonable option given the incredible pole-to-race conversion in recent years. But one Monaco Grand Prix of which to steer clear is betting on any driver to complete the hat-trick of pole position, fastest lap and race victory – just once in the last 16 editions has a driver achieved that feat and it was Alonso in 2007. The 2007 Monaco Grand Prix was a controversial race after which the governing body launched an investigation of the McLaren team following allegations that it had ordered Hamilton not to attempt to challenge or overtake Alonso. McLaren was cleared of any wrongdoing but, even so, the investigation went some way to explaining why Alonso did the hat-trick.
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