Sebastian Vettel won the Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel to Confirm Ferrari’s Superiority over Mercedes

Sebastian Vettel won the Australian Grand Prix.

A Mercedes car has led at the conclusion of every lap in the three previous editions of the Russian Grand Prix but one senses a changing of the guard in Sochi this weekend.

Sergio Perez made some interesting pre-Russian Grand Prix comments in which he opined that the Mercedes power unit, which provides the grunt to his Force India vehicle, had been overtaken by the equivalent Ferrari and Renault pieces of kit. Not many people were taking Perez at his word until Friday’s two Russian Grand Prix practice sessions in which Mercedes played second fiddle to Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen topped the Russian Grand Prix P1 timesheets and Sebastian Vettel led the way in P2 a few hours later.

Lewis Hamilton fans were quick to post on social media that their hero was not going full pelt on day one of the Russian Grand Prix program and that he would show Raikkonen and Vettel who was boss in qualifying on Saturday and Sunday’s race. But the fact is that Hamilton registered slower times than Valtteri Bottas in each of Friday’s two Russian Grand Prix practice sessions and it is the difference in times of the Finn and the Ferrari drivers that is concerning. Bottas has not earned his stripes with Mercedes yet so one cannot think of a reason why he would not be going full pelt on a Friday so that he could not match either Raikkonen or Vettel in the second Russian Grand Prix practice session should be extremely concerning for punters electing to back Hamilton.

Bookmakers are having trouble separately Hamilton and Vettel at the head of their Russian Grand Prix race markets but one thinks that the latter represents the value option at odds of +140  with Marathonbet. With every passing session it becomes increasingly likely that Ferrari boasts Formula One’s most complete package in 2017 and Vettel is a much better driver than Raikkonen. Of the 20 Formula One races that both Vettel and Raikkonen started last year, the German beat the Finn on 14 occasions – the four-time world champion did not start the Bahrain Grand Prix in which the one-time world champion finished second to Nico Rosberg.

With regards to Russian Grand Prix exotics, backing the safety car to make at least one appearance is the pick of the options at odds of -200  with Betfair and Paddy Power. The safety car did not get a run in the 2014 Russian Grand Prix but it has seen action in each of the last two renewals – it appeared twice in 2015 and once in 2016. The layout of the Sochi Autodrom lends itself to safety car periods because its relatively low number of access points increases the probability of abandoned cars not being removed before Russian Grand Prix officials have to err on the side of caution and initiate a go slow.

Romain Grosjean whinged about his Haas vehicle incessantly throughout Friday’s two Russian Grand Prix practice sessions and the Ferrari-powered team has had three retirements from six starts in this season’s Formula One races. Coral and Ladbrokes are offering odds of +300  that Grosjean does not finish Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix race and, on the basis of what the Frenchman said to his mechanics over the radio on Friday, those bookmakers may regret standing out.

Tips Summary

Vettel to win the Russian Grand Prix
Sunday 30th April, 13:00 GMT
Odds:  +140

Safety car to appear during the Russian Grand Prix
Sunday 30th April, 13:00 GMT
Odds:  -200

Romain Grosjean not to finish the Russian Grand Prix
Sunday 30th April, 13:00 GMT
Odds:  +300

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