Lewis Hamilton’s world title challenge is on life support so Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could not come at a better time – but can the defending world champion reignite his quest for another championship or will Nico Rosberg move a step closer to a maiden crown?
From being outspoken to snubbing the media by messing around with his mobile phone during a press conference, it is hard to know what is going on in the head of Hamilton right now. On his day the Mercedes man is the number one driver in Formula 1, but a string of technical problems and a grid penalty have derailed his quest for a third straight Drivers’ Championship, and the 31-year-old has not reacted well to this adversity.
Lewis Hamilton plays with his phone during a press conference in Japan. (Photo by YUYA SHINO/AFP/Getty Images)
He now finds himself 33 points behind team-mate Nico Rosberg in the Championship standings, and the German driver appears to be closing in on his first world championship. Rosberg emerged from the mid-season break second in the standings, but he has capitalised on Hamilton’s struggles by winning four of the last five races to regain top spot in the Drivers’ Championship and the title appears to be his to throw away.
The question is, will he see the job out?
Formula 1 heads to the United States for this weekend’s grand prix in Austin, Texas and the timing of this race is perfect for Hamilton, who is the most successful F1 driver in the history of this circuit.
The Mercedes driver has won three of the four races held at the Circuit of the Americas, and the United States in general has been a happy hunting ground for him with four wins in five races. And despite holding back in front of the media recently, he has insisted he will not be holding back on the track.
“I’ll be holding nothing back out there,” he told reporters. “We’re back in the States – which is like a second home race for me these days. I love the country, the culture, the people and the track, so I can’t wait to get started. I’ve got some great memories from Austin, with three wins from four races and, of course, the title win last year. That was one of the highlights of my career, no doubt.”
But even with that history, it is hard to find any confidence in backing Hamilton right now. His quest for a third straight drivers’ championship is falling apart at the seams and while he flounders, Rosberg has gone from strength to strength. The German has finished second behind Hamilton in each of the last two United States Grand Prix, but in 2016 I expect him to go one better by taking the chequered flag (6/4 Paddy Power
) and taking another giants step towards the world championship.
Daniel Ricciardo. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
I also recommend backing Daniel Ricciardo to claim a spot on the podium at 11/10 with bet365
. The Australian has been a very consistent performer over the past few months with top-six finishes in each of his last nine races, and he has finished on the podium in five of his last seven outings.
Ricciardo’s sixth-place finish in Japan will have been a disappointment, but he is no stranger to finishing on the podium in Austin and Red Bull are in good form right now. Riccardo standing on the podium after Sunday’s race would be no surprise to me.
Back Daniel Ricciardo to finish in the Top Three @ 11/10 bet365