Russian Grand Prix Betting: Back Vettel as he starts to come back into form

Sebastian Vettel has had two podium finishes in a row
Sebastian Vettel has had two podium finishes in a row

Ralph Ellis has turned his attention to the Russian GP and thinks Sebastian Vettel is a good pick for this weekend's race...

"Now I’ve lost money by opposing Hamilton in the last three races, so I’m not going to make that mistake again. He seems to have got himself into a good place mentally where he’s cut out all the errors that he made earlier in the campaign.

But as for actually backing him, that’s a different matter at such a skinny price."

I once ran - and walked a bit too - around Silverstone. The track was hosting a half marathon race and I entered as part of the build up to doing London. It was long, soulless, astonishingly cold and windy, and took forever to get round.

The memory came back as I was looking at how Formula One's top drivers are preparing to enter the unknown at this week's Russian Grand Prix. Sergio Perez has said he plans to walk round the Sochi track and then cycle it ten times. It is, he says, the only way to have any real idea about how best to approach it when he gets behind the wheel of his Force India racing car.

In an age when all the top Grand Prix drivers will have driven the circuit umpteen times behind the wheel of a simulator, it underlines just how far away the computerised experience remains from the real thing. 

If Perez would rather trust a combination of his feet and two wheels powered by a pedal to know what's involved, it rather suggests that, however advanced and state of the art the simulation technology might be, it's still a world away from the reality.

All of that is worth bearing in mind as you look at the odds for this week's race where Lewis Hamilton is once again the massive odds-on favourite at just 1.768/11 to be the winner. Maybe you can understand why after three race wins in a row - but the track will hold such mystery that surely nobody should be odds on?

Sebastian Vettel is expecting the track to be slippery over the first part of the weekend before the asphalt gets used to the thundering power of the F1 tyres, and the cars have laid down enough rubber to provide some decent grip.

Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery is admitting he won't know if the right tyre choices have been made until after Friday's free practice session. Pastor Maldonado is recalling the first races at Austin where the track, in his words, was "super slippery at the beginning and then session after session we got quicker."

Now I've lost money by opposing Hamilton in the last three races, so I'm not going to make that mistake again. He seems to have got himself into a good place mentally where he's cut out all the errors that he made earlier in the campaign.

But as for actually backing him, that's a different matter at such a skinny price. He's only 2.546/4 for the qualifying/winner double, and don't forget that Nico Rosberg took pole in Japan.

I'd rather look for some value, and Vettel seems to be the man to provide that again. He's had two podium finishes in a row, has clearly recovered his taste for racing, and with the anticipation of a move to Ferrari before next season will be right back into positive thinking.

He's somewhere around 29.028/1 in the early market to be the race winner, but the best bet - like Singapore - is to take him as the winner without Hamilton or Rosberg, which will be available at around 5.04/1.

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