Brazilian Grand Prix Betting: Interlagos rain can help 9/1 Verstappen to victory
Max Verstappen has plenty of happy memories to draw on at the Brazilian Grand Prix and our F1 columnist James Gray reckons he could add to them if the weather gods smile on him on Sunday...
"If the famous Brazil rain does fall on Sunday, that will negate some of the problems the Red Bull has been suffering and could help [10.0] shot Verstappen to a remarkable win."
It's over. Lewis Hamilton is a five-time world champion with two races to spare and for the second year in a row, he arrives in Brazil fresh from a championship party.
This time last year, Hamilton had taken his mates on holiday to Peru and scaled Machu Picchu with his baby godson Hiero. He had even picked up a cold along the way - not that it dampened his spirits in Brazil much. It was a very contented Brit that strode into the paddock at Interlagos, even if he was not feeling 100 per cent fit.
Fitness does not seem to be an issue this time around although Hamilton does have some concerns about the lasting the whole season after F1 added the Vietnam Grand Prix.
"I am not going to be here if it gets to 25 races, that's for sure," Hamilton said.
"It already feels like we are on race number 25 this year, so I don't think more races is going to be a good thing."
Hamilton best avoided
While he is still here though, Hamilton does have an unfortunate record that he might want to put to bed: he has not won a race after completing a world title since 2014. In 2015, he finished second in three straight races. Last year, after taking ninth in Mexico he could only take fourth and second.
He hardly looks like to break that streak and laying Hamilton to take victory in Brazil at 3.05 seems like the most prudent move because that trademark intensity that seems to desert him once all the gold has been loaded into his truck. Conversely, backing his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, now unconstrained by the requirement to play second fiddle to Hamilton, at [7.6] to win looks an excellent value bet.
Verstappen in the wet a solid bet
No ambitious driver likes seeing someone else lift a trophy and Max Verstappen in particular will hate the idea of Hamilton streaking ahead in the all-time list while he battles for podiums with Daniel Ricciardo and Ferraris.
But this is a place the man whose career is a relatively short story so far has history in Brazil. No-one who saw it will ever forget his drive in 2016, when Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took the win but Verstappen was masterful in soaking-wet conditions. The Dutchman repeatedly avoided disaster and found grip where others simply could not to finish third. It was only his first season in the Red Bull senior team.
Despite picking up the win in Mexico, Verstappen himself is pessimistic about his chances.
"A lot of the time you are full throttle and it's uphill so it's really going to hurt us," Verstappen said.
He's not wrong. The Renault power unit cannot compete with the two front-runners but if the famous Brazil rain does fall on Sunday, that will negate some of the problems the Red Bull has been suffering and could help [10.0] shot Verstappen to a remarkable win.
Kimi has a point to prove
Soon, Kimi Raikkonen will have barked his last complaint to a Ferrari mechanic. The "Iceman" finally found something to celebrate last month when he won his first race in five years. Now, he has two more chances to end his eighth and final season with the team on another high.
The Finn has happy memories at Interlagos too - if Raikkonen has ever been happy. He won the race and sealed the world championship here back in 2007 and while a victory might be too much of a stretch, [2.2] for a podium finish looks very tempting.
Lay Lewis Hamilton to win the Brazilian Grand Prix at [3.05]
Back Max Verstappen to win the Brazilian Grand Prix at [10.0]
Back Kimi Raikkonen to finish on the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix at [2.2]