Lewis Hamilton has been the bookie’s favorite for the Championship for most of the season. He was odds-on for the title prior to the first Grand Prix and while those odds reduced during the first five races, they picked up when he won 6 from the next 7.
Hamilton is still the favorite, but he’s no longer leading the way and as the bookies keep their faith, many fans are losing theirs. The question is, can Hamilton still win the title or will his teammate stop him?
The Season so Far
Rosberg won the first four races of the season and he made the bookies a little sick to their stomachs in doing so. They were even more shocked and even more sickened when this was followed up by a Verstappen win in the fifth race of the season. It seemed implausible, if not impossible, but after 5 races and 2 winners, Hamilton had yet to claim maximum points.
Of course, he soon turned things around. He won a tight race in Monaco, and that gave him the momentum to win in Canada, Austria, Great Britain, Hungary and Germany. Since then though, he has let Rosberg get back into a rhythm. At the time of writing, the German has won the last three, claiming victory in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, and he looks set to take the silverware at the end of the season.
Hamilton is still 4/6 though, so why are the bookies still sticking with the Brit? (usually it is because they believe his chances are the best, but by delving deeper into betting strategy you might find that not always being the case though)
The Races Left
There are only 6 races left. Based on this, and the fact that Rosberg is leading, you’d think the German would be the favorite. But even if there was one race left and that race was won by Hamilton, then he would win the title. Even if Rosberg finished second. That’s how close it is.
It looks even more promising for Hamilton when you consider that he has a better record on most of the remaining tracks. Next up, for instance, is the Malaysian Grand Prix. This was won by Vettel last year, with Hamilton second and Rosberg third. The year before that, Hamilton won, and the year before that he finished third, with Rosberg down in 6th.
The German has never actually won this race, nor has he won the Japanese Grand Prix, which is the race after Malaysia and which Hamilton has won three times. After that, it’s the US Grand Prix, which Hamilton has won 4 times; then it’s the first run of the Mexico Grand Prix.
Things may get easier for Rosberg with the Brazilian Grand Prix, which he won the last two times; and history says that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be close, as Hamilton has won it twice and Rosberg won it last year.
In other sports, past results wouldn’t mean anything, but they mean something here. Hamilton has more experience on those tracks, he has set the fastest times consistently enough to win the race, and he has won those races time after time. This history makes a big difference, and all signs are pointing towards Hamilton.
There have been 15 races in total this season, and 14 of them have been won by either Hamilton or Rosberg. The German has 8 victories to his name, while Hamilton has just 6. Despite this, only a few points separate them at the top of the table. That’s because Hamilton has had a little more success in the races he hasn’t won.
And that could be a huge deciding factor. This sport is not flawless. Mistakes happen. Unfortunate incidents occur. As a result, neither of these two drivers can guarantee that they will always finish in pole or second place and that they will always be there or thereabouts come the end of the race.
The recent Belgium Grand Prix was a good example of this, because despite starting at the back of the pack, Hamilton was able to finish in third. When you take the victories out of the equation, Hamilton looks much stronger. This is important, because they will both win more races and while you will always expect Hamilton to finish second when Rosberg claims victory, it’s not as much of a guarantee that Rosberg will take second when Hamilton wins.
The wins don’t mean everything in the long run. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and Hamilton’s ability to claw something from nothing and to always make sure he scores well, should be enough to win the championship.
This season will be close. In fact it should be one of the most interesting championships of recent years, making for a nice change after so many years of watching the likes of Vettel and Hamilton run away with it. But close or not, it’s still only going one way, with Hamilton adding another title to his growing collection.