We are officially halfway through the 2018 Formula One season and the driver’s championship remains wide open heading into this weekend’s German Grand Prix.
It has been an exciting tussle between defending champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel through the first ten races of the season and it was the latter who scored bragging rights at Silverstone two weeks ago; consolidating his lead in overall standings and opening the buffer to eight points.
Regardless of standings, Hamilton remains the $2.60 to win at Hockenheim from Vettel ($2.75), Mercedes’ Valteri Bottas ($8.50) and Kimi Raikkonen ($10).
The German Grand Prix returns to the Hockenheimring after a year off and it has typically been a happy hunting ground for Hamilton, who has won the race on three occasions and who is the most-recent winner.
Hamilton finished just under two-and-a-half seconds behind Vettel at Silverstone and was undoubtedly hindered by an incident with Raikkonen on the first lap which saw his favourable qualifying performance immediately go to waste.
Vettel’s ability to capitalise could prove vital in the race to this season’s championship but regardless, the German will take plenty of confidence into his home GP and should be right in the finish again.
A win in Germany would almost certainly give Vettel the psychological edge heading into the summer break, particularly as the Mercedes will be ideally suited to the conditions at the Hungarian GP in a fortnight; a race that Hamilton will likely start as an odds-on favourite.
Daniel Ricciardo ($11) finished second at the most-recent German Grand Prix, but the Aussie has weathered a frustrating year with Red Bull and will require a lot more luck to find his way onto the podium.
Though he has won both the Chinese and Monaco Grand Prix’s, the team’s struggle with straight-line speed has been well documented and Ricciardo simply did not have the power to compete with the Mercedes’ and Ferraris in the UK.