Valtteri Bottas‘ victory in the Russian Grand Prix has threatened Lewis Hamilton‘s bid to capture his seventh Drivers’ Championship by closing the gap on his Mercedes team-mate at the top of the standings to 44 points.
Hamilton suffered a 10-second penalty for two illegal practice starts, which almost cost him further penalty points that may have endangered his participation in a future race this term. It allowed Bottas to claim the victory, but he remains narrowly off the pace of his team-mate. Although Hamilton has endured setbacks throughout the campaign, no other driver has been able to apply significant pressure.
Bottas is one that could make the difference in the title race down the stretch, although his triumph in Russia was only his second of the season. There’s still a long way to go for the Finn, but if he continues to remain consistent on the track then he may have enough to knock off his team-mate for his maiden crown. The odds are against him from achieving the feat as the markets remain unconvinced, although it does present value in the betting markets when entering a small stake on Bottas to triumph.
A bettor could even protect themselves using a free bet on a sign-up offer or a bonus from a leading bookmaker – these are listed in a fantastic review from Shallyn Goodhead of the best deals available out there. These include not only offers on sportsbooks, but also online casinos where alternative offers are available. Utilising a free bet on Bottas may not be a bad choice, especially given Hamilton’s discipline issues. The Brit was penalised for the third time of the campaign in Russia, which previously cost him valuable championship points in Austria and Italy. Whereas Bottas has been on his mettle in the truncated campaign.
The Finn has suffered from his fair share of bad luck in previous years. It would not be a Formula One season without at least one tale of woe for Bottas. In the British Grand Prix, he suffered tyre damage that knocked him out of second place all the way down to 11th in the closing stages of the race. Incidents of that nature of plagued Bottas during his tenure with Mercedes, but he will be hoping that it will not make a difference in his aim to capture the title.
Seven races are remaining in the term, including two in Bahrain and the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi. There is ample time for Bottas to make a comeback, but he will have to win at least four out of the seven contests to have a hope of dethroning Hamilton. Looking back over his career, Bottas has failed to win successive races.
His best run of form came at the start of the last campaign when he reeled off victories in Australia in race one and Azerbaijan in race four, with two second-place finishes in Bahrain and China sandwiched in between. It will take that standard of performance and an avoidance of bad luck to fully apply the pressure.
Only one man has defeated Hamilton since his move to Mercedes and that came from within the team when Nico Rosberg edged out the Brit. On that occasion, the German had a substantial lead and was almost undone by Hamilton in the closing stages of the season. The 35-year-old has been relentless over the last seven years and it will take an incredible effort from the Finn to overhaul him and take the crown for the first time.