After the shock retirement of reigning Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has quickly developed a new rivalry this current season.
Four-time world titlist Sebastian Vettel was usually in the mix last campaign but couldn’t find the pace he needed to challenge the Mercedes bunch. However, that seems to have changed this term, with the German having begun proceedings very brightly and looking more than capable of challenging Hamilton for world honours.
The Ferrari driver secured an impressive victory at the last Bahrain Grand Prix, rallying to first place ahead of Hamilton and third-placed Valtteri Bottas. In what was a truly hectic and thrilling race, Vettel capitalised on a five-second penalty handed out to Hamilton for gamesmanship.
Last season’s Drivers’ Championship runner-up was handed his penalty after driving slowly on his pit entry to hold up Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. Teammate Bottas was later told to let Hamilton by in order to pursue Vettel, but 12 seconds in nine laps proved too much of an uphill task following his penalty.
There is still a long way to go for Vettel and Hamilton will no doubt be chasing the German all the way to the campaign finale.
Vettel’s Bahrain circuit success sees him take an early seven-point lead at the summit of the Championship table, with his British rival Hamilton sitting behind in second place.
Next up, the pair will collide at the Russian Grand Prix and it’s Hamilton that will enter as the even-odds favourite with bet365 in the Formula 1 betting to prevail this time out. He captured the Chinese Grand Prix crown back at the beginning of April.
But former dominant world champion Vettel opened the campaign with success in the Australian Grand Prix, which he most recently followed up with that exciting Bahrain triumph. He will look to make it three circuit victories on April 29th on Russian territory and is 11/8 second-favourite behind Hamilton to achieve such a feat.
It seems that Ferrari have finally managed to get their car right, with Vettel benefiting from his impressive pace at this early stage of the new season. However, there is still a long way to go and Hamilton will no doubt be chasing the German all the way to the campaign finale.
The opening three results of the season have set up an intriguing Russian Grand Prix, with proceedings finely poised for another brilliant battle between Hamilton and Vettel at the testing Sochi Autodrom. Across 53 laps, covering a total distance of 192.45 miles, the duo will contest for supremacy in the fourth race meeting of the term.
With the World Championship crown set to be fought over by Hamilton and Vettel, the former has called for his team to improve his car’s pace in order to be able to fully compete with the rapid Ferrari roster. The Briton was left frustrated in Bahrain with another second-place finish and wants minor adjustments to be made so he can conquer his German opponent this season. “It is all small, fine percentages that will make the difference between winning and coming second”, declared the three-time world champion.
Hamilton and Vettel will renew their rivalry in Russia in the coming weeks and Formula 1 fans should be set for another dramatic race day, as the pair collide at the Sochi Autodrom once again.