The race to win the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship is delicately poised following Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Belgium and the upcoming Italian Grand Prix should be a cracker. Hamilton’s composed performance saw him cut Sebastian.
<p>The race to win the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship is delicately poised following Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Belgium and the upcoming Italian Grand Prix should be a cracker. Hamilton’s composed performance saw him cut Sebastian Vettel’s lead to just seven points and the battle looks like going right down to the wire. The Ferrari of Vettel is a match for Hamilton’s Mercedes and we have a really interesting second half of the season to look forward to. But there are undoubtedly Mercedes tracks and Ferrari tracks, and Monza is a Mercedes track, so you would expect star driver Hamilton to claim another chequered flag.</p><p>To clarify, Ferrari has excelled on slow, twisty, bumpy tracks with plenty of downforce. They suit the car and they suit Vettel’s style of braking. The Mercedes is slightly more powerful, however, and has shone and outclassed rivals on quicker tracks, where its potent engine is allowed to roar. After the Italian Grand Prix we head over to Singapore for a street race and that is very much a Ferrari track. Mercedes insiders are expecting their rivals to secure another comfortable one-two there, just as they did at Monaco and Hungaroring. Therefore it is imperative that Hamilton racks up another win on Sunday to give himself a chance of staying in touching distance of Vettel heading into the home straight of the season.</p><p>Mercedes has won here in each of the last three seasons. Nico Rosberg secured victory last year and Hamilton won in 2015 and 2014, while he also won for McLaren in 2012. Vettel has won three times too, but not since 2013, when he was at Red Bull and they were dominating the sport in a similar fashion to Mercedes during the preceding three years.</p><p>Hamilton is the 4/7 favourite to win the Drivers’ Championship ahead of Vettel at 2/1 and if he is to pull it off he has to win races like this one. His victory in Belgium last weekend was tense and nerve shredding as Vettel remained around 1.5 seconds behind throughout, but he got the job done. Even on a track where the Ferrari will not be firing on all cylinders, it is still extremely competitive, as Vettel proved in Belgium. The German is 10/3 with Bet365, William Hill, Betway and various others to win this race on Sunday, and 18/5 with Bet Stars, and that is tempting punters, with more money going on him than anyone else.</p><p>But Hamilton is the 4/6 favourite with Sky Bet and that looks a really good option. He has dominated here in recent years, with only now retired teammate Rosberg stopping him. One disadvantage he has against Vettel is that the German is very much Ferrari’s main man and Kimi Raikkonen plays second fiddle, while at Mercedes Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are supposed to be treated as equals. As such Raikonnen is fifth in the Drivers’ Championship and well off the pace, but Bottas is third and clinging on to faint hopes of turning it into a three-horsed race.</p><p>But still, despite that, there is more at stake for Hamilton than anyone else here as he needs points before heading into Singapore, where many will argue that the best he can hope for is third place. He thrives under pressure and we can expect another strong and composed performance from him at Monza, so it is hard to look past a Hamilton win here. Another option would be to back him to take pole position at 8/13 with Boyle Sports. In 157 career races, he has taken 68 pole positions. He is now level with Michael Schumacher in the all-time list of the most pole positions, and another here would see him surge clear into the lead. In 12 races this season, Hamilton has been in pole position seven times, with two each for Vettel and Bottas and one for Raikkonen. A dream weekend would be to earn pole position, break Schumacher’s record, and stay out in front for the entire race before claiming the chequered flag and</p><p>seizing the lead in the championship race. Hamilton has the ability and the mentality to pull it off.</p>