Formula 1 Betting: Chinese Grand Prix preview


Qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix served up a grid to savour.

Mercedes have captured the front row for the first time since 1955. And we have a first-time pole sitter in Nico Rosberg.

Alongside him is team mate Michael Schumacher, who is looking to score his 92nd career win at the circuit where he last stood on top of the podium in 2006.

Behind him is Kamui Kobayashi, who will start two places higher than he’s ever finished a race. He shares row two with another comeback champion, Kimi Raikkonen

And what of the McLarens, who’ve been the pace-setters in the opening races of the year?

Jenson Button is fifth on the grid and team mate Lewis Hamilton, who qualified second, starts seventh after a penalty for changing his gearbox.

It promises to be an exciting race – and there are some attractive options for those who fancy a punt on the outcome.

Mercedes

They’ve annexed the front row of the grid, thanks in part to Hamilton’s penalty, so should you put your money on them to win?

I say not: Mercedes have got great pace over a single lap but we’re still looking for signs that they can keep life in their tyres for long enough during races.

In practice on Friday Mercedes exhibited especially bad tyre degradation. They’re still some way off matching the likes of McLaren or Red Bull in this respect.

Team principal Ross Brawn admitted as much after celebrating Rosberg’s pole position, saying: “we know it is only a small step and that what really counts is the race.

“That's what we have been working on, to start delivering similar levels of performance on Sunday afternoon.”

McLaren

Hamilton has had great pace this weekend and would be starting on the front row if it wasn’t for his gearbox change.

That leaves him with some work to do on race day. But he knows how to overtake  and how to win in Shanghai.

Last year he emerged from his last pit stop in fourth place, then passed Rosberg, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel to win. Along with his 2008 victory, he’s the only driver to have won this race twice.

That makes his price of 5.5 to win look good despite his low starting position.

Sauber

The softer tyres Pirelli have brought this year have done much to keep teams guessing and create exciting racing. One team who have mastered the softer tyres is Sauber.

This makes Kamui Kobayashi, who will start Sunday’s race from third on the grid, look especially good value. He’s priced at 12.0 to win - remember he’s driving the same car Sergio Perez came so close to winning with  last time out in Malaysia.

Perez starts eighth and has proved every bit as good at nursing his tyres as Kobayashi – perhaps better. What’s more, his odds are more than twice as long, at 25.0.

Lotus

The black and gold Lotuses have been up and down the times sheets this weekend, chasing the set-up as track temperatures fluctuated.

The car is fundamentally quick but if the conditions are cool tomorrow Raikkonen’s price of 8.0 to win won’t look such good value. If it looks set to be warm, definitely consider him.

He’s certainly worth a look at 6.5 to set fastest lap. This is Raikkonen’s forte: only two drivers in F1 history have set more fastest laps, and he added another one in the last race.

Red Bull

The RB8 is another car which is stronger on a Sunday: both drivers were catching Hamilton’s McLaren in the closing stages in Malaysia.

Webber started 18th and finished third here last year, which makes his price of 15.0 to win from sixth on the grid on Sunday rather appealing.

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic