F1 2018: Chinese Grand Prix Preview

Mercedes will be looking to close in on a Ferrari outfit that is delivering the goods in 2018 when the F1 field takes to the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday the 15th of April.

It seems the colour red is in-trend at the minute with Liverpool managing a momentous win of Manchester City this past Tuesday, while Ferrari's main man, Sebastian Vettel, managed to claim his second win of the season out in Bahrain last week.

Vettel's Bahrain victory sees Ferrari head for China with a handy 10-point Constructors' Championship lead.

Will Vettel paint the town red yet again this season or will Mercedes put a halt to their hot streak in a country that loves-a-bit-a-red.
Bahrain Grand Prix | Sunday 15 April | Shanghai International Circuit | 08:05

To Win Race Outright
Lewis Hamilton 1/1 | Sebastian Vettel 7/4 | Valterri Bottas 9/1 | Max Verstappen 11/1 | Daniel Ricciardo 11/1 | Kimi Raikkonen 12/1 | Fernando Alonso 300/1 

Previous Race
Forza Ferrari indeed. Fans of the 'Prancing Stag' currently occupy a spot on 'Cloud 9' with Sebastian Vettel getting the season off to the most ideal of starts by bagging back-to-back wins. The Ferrari man somehow managed to complete 39 laps on a set of Softs. It was an incredible display of tyre conservation from the German who managed to hold off a Valterri Bottas, who ended the race in second ahead of teammate, Lewis Hamilton.

While Vettel was having a whale of a time in Bahrain Kimi Raikkonen had his heart-broken with the Iceman forced to retire when a podium finish looked there for the taking. The Finn was joined in the retiree's section by the twin Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

With the two Red Bulls out of the running, there was going to always be an opportunity for some of the not so household names to claim a top-six finish. This is exactly what happened with Paul Gasly (4th), Kevin Magnussen (5th) and Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top-six.

Fernando Alonso enjoyed yet another finish inside the top-ten to bring his McLaren across the line in 7th. He was followed by Stoffel Vandoorne who claimed eighth, while the top-ten was rounded out by Marcus Ericcson (9th) and Esteban Ocon (10th).

The architectural wonder that is the Shanghai International circuit will play host to one of the most intriguing races in recent history. Mercedes are struggling, while Ferrari seem to have closed the gap on their rivals. The good news for Silver Arrows fans is that they last tasted defeat on this track when Fernando Alonso, who was still driving for Ferrari at the point, claimed the race victory back in 2013.

This is a tricky track with a lot of turns, but there is room to open up the taps with the 1.5 kilometre straight – situated between turns 13 and 14 - allowing drivers to really have a go before heading into the hairpin between turns 14 and 15, where sharp braking is a necessity if you want to avoid running off track.

Drivers will face 16 turns in total this weekend, with the trickiest of the bunch being the sequence between turns one to four, which have claimed their fair share of victims since the course first hosted a race back in 2004.

As we are in South East Asia, the extremely humid conditions need to be noted due to their effect on tyre wear. Which will make the teams tyre selection for this weekend rather interesting. Interestingly, enough, Ferrari have opted to carry on extra Medium (White) tyre into this weekend while Mercedes have taken a few extra Soft (Yellow) compounds into this weekend.

The weather forecast for the race weekend is decent enough with a bit of rain being predicted for Friday's practice session while, at the moment, there is no rain being forecast for Saturday and Sunday.

Last year’s podium consisted of Lewis Hamilton (1st), Sebastian Vettel (2nd) and Max Verstappen.

Value Bet - Fernando Alonso - To Win Race 300/1 & Podium 25/1
Last's week value bet arrived in style with the two Red Bulls being the first two cars to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix. So, if you followed that one with a small stake you'll definitely have some money to spare to go for the ultimate 'Hail Mary' and back Fernando Alonso at a staggering 300/1 to bag a race win out in China.

No, while this one can only be filed under the speculator draw, the return is simply too good to ignore.

Alonso managed a fifth-place finish out in Australia and seventh place last weekend in Bahrain. If there are a couple accidents between the front-runners, then the former Ferrari man could well find himself in the mix for top honours. He also offers a decent return for a podium finish at 25/1. I'd have a  R10 strike on both the aforementioned lines.

Fastest Qualifier & Win Race - Lewis Hamilton 66/100 & 1/1
I've given you the speculator for the weekend and here's the banker, well at least in my eyes. Yes, Lewis has underperformed this weekend but he has a great record out in China winning three of the last four races held in Shanghai. He's also claimed pole in four of his last five races out here.

My money is on Hamilton stopping the rot in China. He's got the record and this isn't the happiest of hunting grounds for Ferrari.

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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