Mexico Grand Prix Betting: Verstappen to ruin Hamilton party
Lewis Hamilton will surely become world champion for a fifth time on Sunday but James Gray reckons Max Verstappen could be the one celebrating with him.
""This is definitely the best chance for me to win out of the last three races," said Verstappen, who denied Lewis Hamilton the title by holding him off for second place at the US Grand Prix."
Lewis Hamilton would doubtless rather have snatched second place in the dying laps in his beloved US and celebrated a fifth world title last week rather than this.
But he could not sneak onto the second step of the podium and the party had to be postponed by a week. This time around though, the cork-popping will not be premature. The hard work has already been done.
That said, there are not many places in the world where Red Bull's Renault engine can compete with the Mercedes power - but Mexico City is one of those places. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is 2,200 metres above sea level (nearly a kilometre higher than the UK's loftiest peak) and the thinner air serves to equalise the engine power around the paddock.
And you don't need to tell Max Verstappen twice.
"This is definitely the best chance for me to win out of the last three races," said Verstappen, who denied Lewis Hamilton the title by holding him off for second place at the US Grand Prix.
The Dutchman is well worth a punt at 4/1 to produce a repeat of last year's result when he survived first-lap clashes with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to secure, what was then, his third career race win.
That second place all but secured Verstappen an internal victory over Daniel Ricciardo in their last season as team-mates with the Australian Renault-bound in the winter. The gap between them is now 45 points which seems to justify the team's decision to give the youngster a lucrative contract and not offer Ricciardo an equal deal.
You can get 7/2 on either Red Bull, the traditional kings of mechanical grip, to take the win which could represent a handy hedge against Verstappen's legendary impetuousness.
But it will likely be the Ferrari of Vettel, priced at 13/8 to take the race win, not the Mercedes of 2/1 shot Hamilton, which stands between the Red Bulls and the top step of the podium. Their revival after a prolonged summer of Silver Arrows dominance was confirmed in Austin by Kimi Raikkonen's victory and Mexico should be no different.
Hamilton can cruise - but will not want to
Hamilton of course has no need to take risks. Only a Vettel victory keeps the title battle alive for another week and the Brit can lose to all the other "big three" drivers and still do as he did last year and clinch overall victory in Mexico.
He is 1/6 to finish anywhere in the top six, something that even in an oxygen-deprived Mercedes most qualified drivers could achieve.
Have a Hartley
Brendon Hartley can be forgiven for losing a little bit of patience with the persistent questions about his seat next year - even if they remain valid until his number is on the car.
The New Zealander, who branded such queries 'more and more annoying' this week, will have a vital upgraded aero package during practice which Toro Rosso hope will make them a legitimate points-scoring threat for the closing races as they scrap Sauber for eighth place.
Hartley himself battled from 20th to ninth in Texas and is 2/1 to record another top-10 finish but those feeling really bold might want to look at his 10/1 top-six chances. Some drivers will be starting to look forward to a winter break and if enough carnage ensues, Hartley is the sort of driver who could benefit.