Monaco Grand Prix Betting: Is Mercedes boss Toto just crying Wolff?

Lewis Hamilton
Did he really say that? Lewis Hamilton's boss doesn't fancy his Monaco chances
Join today

Ralph Ellis cashed in backing Lewis Hamilton in Spain and his money's on the reigning champion again - even if his Mercedes boss isn't so confident.

"Hamilton is as long as [5.2] to make it a hat-trick of chequered flags, and [5.6] to be in pole position. Both those bets represent an unmissable opportunity"

Just as well that Toto Wolff, boss of the Mercedes Formula One team, went into motor racing rather than boxing. He'd have never been much good at trash talking.

You can just imagine his pre-fight press conference: "No, don't fancy this contest, the guy has got a tremendous left hook that could take me out at any time and his jab is dangerous too. I might be on a loser here".

That's effectively the way Wolff, honest to his bones, is approaching the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. The sport's most glamorous showpiece race, and he's talking down his team's chances big time.

"I'm bloody worried," he's said. "Why our car doesn't like to be quick around corners in a course like Monaco we have not found out yet."

Betfair's markets are equally unhappy about the chances of Mercedes. Despite Lewis Hamilton winning the last two races, he's as long as [5.2] to make it a hat-trick of chequered flags, and [5.6] to be in pole position.

A big priced gamble worth taking

You know what? Despite all Wolff's public concerns I reckon both those bets represent an unmissable opportunity because I can't help thinking there's a trick or two up the Mercedes corporate sleeve.

That's a bit of a leap of faith compared to Barcelona where he always looked capable of leading from start to finish. But at those prices it's a gamble worth taking.

Everyone is making a big fuss over the performance of Red Bull's car in Spain two weeks ago where Max Verstappen achieved his first podium finish of the season.

The upgrades that his engineering team brought gave his car extra downforce which made a dramatic difference in the last sector of the Barcelona track which is full of twisting corners. Bring that performance to the tight street circuit of Monte Carlo and he must be a danger.

Yet, to cash in, given the difficulty of overtaking on the famous old street circuit, he has to first be effective in qualifying and that's where there remain question marks. Red Bull have yet to start in the top three in the first five races.

Hypersoft tyres could be key

As for Vettel, this weekend's [2.92] favourite, it's a race that will ask a lot of questions. If the German doesn't dominate this Grand Prix, when will he?

He won there last year, when Ferrari had a 1-2 with Daniel Ricciardo following him home, and the circuit should be well-suited to his Ferrari even if its halo-mounted wing mirrors, which were ruled to be providing unlawful aerodynamic advantages, have had to be adapted.

The big unknown, which might just give Hamilton an edge, is in the tyre compounds. Pirelli are introducing a "hypersoft" wheel at Monaco which is expected to bring the circuit's lap record tumbling.

Renault driver Carlos Sainz tested it in Barcelona and called it "the best tyre Pirelli has done in a lot of years". Mercedes have ordered extra sets and if they can get their data right from testing on Friday it could solve some problems through those tight corners, and also give opportunities in their race day strategy.

Hamilton himself isn't laying down and accepting defeat like his boss. He posted a Twitter picture from the 2008 Monaco race when he hit the barrier on the second lap but still fought back to win, saying it taught him never to give up.

That attitude will be key this time. Wolff might not have been much good as a boxer, but Lewis is more than capable of landing a few knockout blows.

Join today

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles