The conditions in Shanghai seem to favour the Ferrari cars this weekend, as they seek once again to close the gap on Mercedes in the ongoing battle of the Formula 1 constructors.
For reasons far too complicated and detailed to go into here, it's all about how the different cars use their tyres, and the super-soft tyres in particular. When the temperature is lower, the Mercedes car makes the most of the rubber. In higher temperatures, though, the Ferrari really shines.
Of course, Friday practice session times can be entirely misleading. And the weather can change dramatically - especially in China, where it has been unusually warm so far, but rain is predicted during the qualifying session on Saturday. If the hot weather had continued we'd be tipping Sebastian Vettel for pole position, but if it's going to rain then we have to favour the Mercedes drivers. Hamilton is ruled out by his five place grid penalty, so we reckon it's going to be Nico Rosberg who continues his run of fine form by landing top spot on the grid. The best place to back him is at PaddyPower, at a decent 13/8.
The race is a different matter though. Hamilton will be attempting to charge through the field, but the last couple of grands prix haven't suggested that he's going to have it easy and we're not convinced he's going to take a win on Sunday. Rosberg has shown a deft touch to make the most of the new clutch rules at the start of races, and he's a good bet to lead them away and never be seen again until he takes the chequered flag. The best place to back him for the race win is at Ladbrokes, where he's priced at 10/11.
That said, we think one of the Ferraris might be a tempting longer odds bet for the victory. Both drivers have form at this circuit, and Raikonnen's fastest time in FP2 showed he's still got the measure of his younger teammate in some circumstances. We still think if a Ferrari driver is going to win it's likeliest to be Vettel, though, and you can back him to win the race at a very decent 5/1 over at Coral.