The 2014 Formula 1 Championship has arguably witnessed a storyline of friends becoming foes, as Mercedes stage an intense contest for the Drivers’ Championship between their drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, in a storm they hope to have weathered somewhat for the next visit at Singapore in two weekends’ time.
The golden team rule in motorsport is simple – don’t run into your team-mate – something Mercedes boss Toto Wolf will have repeated endlessly in recent months.
The Belgian Grand Prix at the picturesque Spa-Francorchamps on the other hand saw that displayed quite comprehensively by the Mercedes team-mates in the early laps of the race, when Rosberg made contact with Hamilton at Le Combes fighting for the lead, leaving the latter with a puncture and a loss of 18 points to Rosberg who struggled to second with lasting front wing damage.
The team made it abundantly clear after the post-race fall-out between the pair that the scenario should not be reproduced, Rosberg admitting it was his mistake following Hamilton’s frank – and very public – claims that the contact was ‘to make a point’ following team orders debates at Hungary and the infamous Monaco qualifying spat where Rosberg claimed pole amid a mistake that accidentally hindered his team-mate.
Hamilton’s recovery drive from fourth to first in Monza – after a poor start created through mechanical dramas – was a psychological edge for the Briton as he closed the gap in the points to 22 with a sixth win of 2014, four-time winner Rosberg admitting to a simple mistake at the first chicane under pressure.
The perhaps slightly subdued son of 1982 champion, Keke Rosberg, remains favourite for the title but at evens with the bookmakers such as Betfair compared to Hamilton’s 4/5, although the pressure applied now makes Rosberg the more admirable bet to place for the coming Singapore Grand Prix under the lights on 21 September 2014.
Hamilton’s odds to win currently do not show a profit, but his team-mate – equally as able on pure talent – comes at favourable 2/1 odds with Betfred, which are made even more appealing to new customers who register for the first time thanks to double odds on your first stake.
Betfred not only offer a matched free bet on your first stake of up to £25 on any event, but also double odds on that inital bet you make, meaning Rosberg’s odds would enhance the profit in that case to an attractive price.
Additionally, the German is strong on street circuits having beaten Hamilton at Monaco in the past two seasons, also having challenged Hamilton for victory in the 2009 Singapore GP until a drive-through penalty stymied his chances in the then less-competitive Williams, as Hamilton fought to his only win at the track during a tough year for McLaren.
Speaking of which, McLaren sensationally look as though they are heading for a second-consecutive season without a win to their name, 2009 champion Jenson Button an alarming 150/1 to win the Singapore encounter with Sky Bet, having come closest to beating a then rampant Sebastian Vettel back in 2011.
Street circuits with less emphasis on straight-line speed are helpful to Red Bull, and the on-song Daniel Ricciardo remains 2014’s star performer and outside championship spoiler in a closing third place in the standings.
The smiling Aussie has claimed three wins this year to the zero of his four-time championship-winning team-mate, Vettel, and Ricciardo could be a big threat here at 12/1 with Bet365 once again in the race should the Mercedes pair become too engulfed in beating themselves.
Williams are not expecting a repeat of Felipe Massa’s podium in Monza or another visit to the rostrum for Valtteri Bottas, while Ferrari’s season of near meltdown got worse in Italy as Fernando Alonso suffered a rare non-finish in front of the Tifosi – just three days prior to the news that Ferrari chairman, Luca Di Montezemolo, announced he has stepped down from his role.
The Singapore GP takes place on 21 September 2014, with lights set to go out for the floodlit race at 1pm on the Sunday which will be aired live on Sky Sports F1 (Sky channel 407).