Things weren’t looking so good for Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team earlier this summer. But Hamilton has opened up a big 28-point lead in the World Drivers’ Championship standings with three consecutive wins, and at press time, he’s a –120 favorite to make it four straight at Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel is second at +175, followed by Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas at +600.
Vettel has enjoyed great success in past trips to Malaysia, winning four times – three with Red Bull Racing, and once more for Ferrari in 2015. Hamilton has only the one victory in 2014, but he should have the advantage this time, thanks to the superior performance of Mercedes on straightaways. Sepang International Circuit features two very long straights separated by a hairpin turn.
Ferrari has used their advantages in cornering to stay competitive this year, and Vettel took an early lead in the Drivers’ standings with three victories and three second-place finishes in the first six races. But Vettel’s only win since then was July 30 in Hungary, and at the last race in Singapore, he and teammate Kimi Raikkonen (+2200) collided on the first lap, allowing Hamilton to win handily.