Mercedes desperately need to bounce back at Sochi Autodorm on September 29. They have been just hit by Ferrari’s one-two win in Singapore and their first hat-trick of victories since 2008. As the championship is at stake, bookies opt for Hamilton to win the 2019 Russian GP and reassert his lead.
The Russian Grand Prix is one of Mercedes’ most dominant strongholds. Online sportsbook news sites in Russia show that Mercedes won every year in Sochi since 2014. Accordingly, it is the perfect race for Mercedes to make a comeback and get Hamilton one step closer to his sixth World Championship.
However, F1 fans should not take the Russian GP for granted, as Ferrari are getting faster. Although Sochi is Mercedes’ stronghold, Ferrari will not make it easy for Hamilton to win the 2019 Russian GP. In fact, after Ferrari’s score of their first one-two since 2017, the odds are closer than ever between the two F1 powerhouses.
Hamilton’s lead will start disappearing if he loses Russian GP
The reigning champion Lewis Hamilton has built up a strong lead, with 96 points above Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. He did so with eight wins in the season. However, after his French GP victory, Hamilton fell short five out of the ensuing seven rounds. He must be under no illusion that his gap in the championship could disappear if he fails to come back strong.
Russian GP might be Hamilton’s best chance to save his lead. He won Sochi in 2014 and 2015. His teammates Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas won the next couple of years, before him coming back to win in 2018. Online sportsbooks in Russia suggest Hamilton can dominate the Russian GP. But, he is not a massive favorite. Instead, he sits on top of the betting and shares 2.75 odds with Charles Leclerc at Unibet Sportsbook.
Leclerc close to becoming Hamilton’s title challenger
Hot-shot Charles Leclerc has wowed the crowds in recent weeks. He won at Spa and Monza and was denied his third win in Singapore. The 21-year-old took over his four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel in the point table. Thus, Leclerc is a serious threat to Vettel’s position as number one in Ferrari.
Many spectators think that Ferrari are resurging with Leclerc. Thus, Hamilton to win the 2019 Russian GP will be a very difficult quest. Leclerc had a huge performance in Russia last year when he was still the future Ferrari driver. He finished less than 20 seconds behind Daniel Ricciardo, taking the seventh place. Should he win Russia with 2.75 odds, Leclerc will become Hamilton’s top title challenger.
Bottas will likely step aside if Hamilton leads
Valtteri Bottas has not tasted victory since April and he needs a strong comeback as soon as possible. However, with Hamilton still at his best, Bottas is unable but to remain Hamilton’s wingman. In Singapore, Bottas has been instructed to back off and avoid overtaking Hamilton with an undercut, and hold up the pursuing Alex Albon. Besides, last year Bottas was told to move aside in Russia and sacrifice his win to Hamilton. Although Bottas values 7.00 to win in Sochi, he might step aside if his teammate leads the race.
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