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Chinese Grand Prix: Raikkonen ripe for Shanghai surprise

Lewis Hamilton heads into the Chinese Grand Prix as the hot favourite after winning five of the last 10 races in Shanghai.

With Mercedes also taking the chequered flag in the last four editions, it is small wonder that Hamilton dominates the betting market despite Sebastian Vettel winning the first two races in Australia and Bahrain to open up an early 17-point lead.

Those results may have raised eyebrows in some quarters, but let's not forget that Hamilton finished on the podium on both occasions and only a software glitch prevented victory in Melbourne, while a grid penalty imposed for a gearbox change ruled him out of contention in Bahrain a week ago.

Friday's practice sessions saw Hamilton top the timesheets and the four fastest drivers suggest this weekend will be a dust-up between Mercedes and Ferrari.

At 8/13, Hamilton looks the man to beat and his confidence has clearly not been dented despite his setbacks.

He said: "We are only two races into the new season, but I arrived here thinking I want to win the next 19. I know the title is not won and lost in two races, and the experiences of the last two grands prix strengthen you, but I definitely don't want to fall any further behind.

"I feel hungry, we are not a wounded beast, and I still believe we are the best team with the potential to win races and fight for this world championship."

However, Kimi Raikkonen to finish on the podium at 7/4 is our Chinese Grand Prix betting tip.

The Ferrari driver finished just 0.007secs behind Hamilton in second practice and is expected to be competitive this weekend.

Hamilton said: "Ferrari are going to be hard to beat here. It is a good track for us, but it will be closer than you think so we need to bring our A-game every weekend."

Raikkonen won here in 2007 and has finished fourth and third in the last two seasons.

He said: "It was a pretty good Friday and I'm quite happy with the feeling of the car. I think we have a pretty good base line to start from.

"The car has been quite straightforward since the beginning so it is easy to fine-tune things. On one lap we had some traffic and I'm sure we could have gone faster."

Those words suggest Raikkonen is expecting a decent performance this weekend and with four drivers probably in the running, 7/4 looks excellent value for a top-three finish.

Kimi Raikkonen to finish on podium @ 7/4

Warren Barner
@warren_barner in F1