Brazilian Grand Prix betting: Can Lewis Hamilton defy his Interlagos jinx?

A 2008 title winner...but Brazil hasn't been a happy venue for Hamilton since.
A 2008 title winner...but Brazil hasn't been a happy venue for Hamilton since.

Lewis Hamilton has been closing relentlessly on the title with five wins on a row, but Ralph Ellis fears they may be a sting in the tail for the British driver in Brazil...

"In a year when Formula One has for the most part been horribly predictable because of the dominance of the Mercedes engines, Brazil is the place where a bit of drama could unfold."

It was in Brazil in 2008 that a young Lewis Hamilton stole the Formula One Drivers' Championship in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Needing to finish fifth or better to take the title in just his second season on the grid, he was running sixth as he came into the final corner of the final lap. His pit crew had been telling him he could catch Timo Glock to deliver the prize - their computers had worked it out to the very last nano-second.

What the computers say and what the human delivers can be two different things, but Hamilton responded to perfection, went past Glock down the inside, and crossed the line as the youngest driver to win the title. It was so tense that, if I remember correctly, even the TV commentary said he'd missed out.

In the Ferrari garage they also thought Felipe Massa had not only won the race but the championship too, only for the celebrations to collapse as reality struck. Hamilton, who had gambled on changing to wet weather tyres as rain began in the closing stages, had the grip to get past.

You might think from there that Brazil would have become a favourite venue for Hamilton, but far from it. Instead, after finishing third in 2009 when torrential rain in the first qualifying session meant he'd started from 17th on the grid, he's never been on the podium at Interlagos since.

It's a stat worth bearing in mind before you bet on Hamilton this weekend to continue his remarkable second half of the season. After five wins in a row he is again massive odds-on at 1.728/11 to add the Brazilian Grand Prix to his season's collection of trophies. In the early market he is as short as 2.021/1 for the qualifying/winner double.

In a year when Formula One has for the most part been horribly predictable because of the dominance of the Mercedes engines, Brazil is the place where a bit of drama could unfold.

Interlagos is always a tricky circuit, with high altitude and more hills than most - and in addition this year most of the track has been resurfaced which will ask questions of the teams in terms of tyre strategy. As if that wasn't enough, the weather gods obviously fancy a bit of Sunday afternoon Grand Prix drama too - the forecast is for thunder storms on all three days.

Hamilton is now 24 points clear of Nico Rosberg in the Drivers' Championship standings, and so not surprisingly is now 1.21/5 to take the title. You can't escape the fact that he has performed brilliantly in the second half of the season. After his fury at the crash with Nico Rosberg that saw him driven off the road in Belgium he seems to have found a new calm and precision.

But throw in the combination of a track where he has always under-performed, and a weather forecast that could turn a race into a lottery, and I just can't get away from the feeling that the season might have a sting in the tail. If that is going to happen anywhere it will be in the puddles in Sao Paulo.

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