Well we didn’t see that coming! Barcelona winner Pastor Maldonado wasn’t even a household name in his home town in Venezuela before landing the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday having been 500/1 with BetVictor on Thursday ahead of first practice.
We have now had five different winners in the first five races in this remarkable Formula 1 season including the first win for Williams’ since Juan Pablo Montoya won in his last race in the car in Brazil back in 2004. The fire in the team garage after the race and the shunt of Bruno Senna with Michael Schumacher on lap 13 made it a quite extraordinary weekend for Frank Williams who celebrated his 70th birthday on April 16th. Note Schumacher will be given a five-place grid penalty for Monaco for his part in the incident, which all but rules him out of a sixth win on the street circuit.
Fernando Alonso’s second place finish was enough to give the Ferrari ace a share of the lead with dual World champion Sebastian Vettel in the race for the Drivers’ Championship with Lewis Hamilton eight points further back in third. The Spaniard is 4/1 to gain his third World Title at BetVictor.
Lotus are sure to take heart from the race with their two drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean having the fastest two laps of the race and they will go to Monaco in a fortnights time full of confidence.
Red Bull as Christian Horner suggested post Bahrain are unlikely to dominate as they have done in recent years, but Sebastian Vettel drove an excellent race in sixth considering his drive-through penalty and nose change. The German remains 5/2 favourite for a hat-trick of World Championship titles with BetVictor but you wonder if those odds are based on reputation and liabilities rather than evidence of what we have seen to date on the track despite his win in Bahrain last month.
Things haven’t quite gone to plan for Lewis Hamilton (11/4 for the Title) so far this season but his eighth-placed finish having started from the back of the grid was an excellent effort and one that dispelled the myth that he is too fierce on his tyres given his two-stop strategy.
And so to Monaco and the most famous race on the F1 calendar; Red Bull have dominated in recent years with Vettel in 2011 and Mark Webber in 2010 grabbing pole and leading from start to finish. Hamilton who won the race in 2008 is our 11/4 favourite to make it six different winners from six races with Vettel and dual winner (2006 & 07) Alonso 5/1, 2005 winner Raikkonen 6/1, ’09 winner Jenson Button 8s, Romain Grosjean 10s and man-of-the-moment Maldonado 16/1.
Qualification is key on the tight narrow streets and corners; will Hamilton or Button be able to give McLaren their 16th win at Monaco? Will Lotus be able to build on the pace of Barcelona? Will normal service be resumed and Red Bull land the hat-trick? It promises to be another wonderful weekend and the action begins with first practice on Thursday 24th May.
We have a competition at BetVictor to win 2 Grandstand tickets for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on the 8th July; simply bet £10 or more on the outright market for each of the forthcoming Grand Prix at Monaco (27th May), Canada (10th June) and European Grand Prix at Valencia (24th June) and you will be entered for the prize draw; note this event is already sold out and you will be entered irrespective of whether your bets win or lose.