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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Bottas may be able to crash Ferrari's party

Hamilton starts 13th after qualifying misery

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was the man to beat throughout qualifying
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Monaco Grand Prix
Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1, 1pm

Top tip
Valtteri Bottas 14-1

Kimi Raikkonen claimed his first pole position since 2008 with a masterful display in qualifying in Monaco.

However, the question is not so much whether he has the speed to translate that into victory in the race, but whether Ferrari will allow him to take a win away from Sebastian Vettel.

The close battle between Ferrari and Mercedes - and in particular between Vettel and Lewis Hamilton - has defined the season so far.

Vettel starts second, having missed out on pole position by 0.043 seconds while Hamilton is mired in 13th on the grid after a disastrous session.

The German leads the championship with 104 points - six ahead of Hamilton, while Raikkonen has just 49.

Ferrari, without a drivers title since Raikkonen's triumph over Hamilton in 2007, could be forgiven for using team orders to help Vettel in his title fight given that points differential.

Starting 13th, Hamilton would be fancied to at least make the podium on most circuits, but on the tight streets of Monte Carlo he might need opportunely-timed safety cars even to climb into the top six.

Hamilton will be hoping his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas can prevent Ferrari running away with it.

Like Hamilton, the Finn appeared to be struggling for much of the weekend, but he produced a superb lap at the end of qualifying to go third, just two thousandths of a second behind Vettel.

Bottas has made some great starts recently, going from third into the lead before winning in Russia, and he made another smart getaway in Spain last time before making a mess of the first corner.

Bottas went faster as his tyres aged in qualifying, and that could give him a wider range of strategy options in the race. At 14-1 he looks a fair each-way bet to get between the Prancing Horses.

Other markets
Toro Rosso double points finish Evens

Toro Rosso caught the eye with some competitive laptimes in Thursday practice and they showed that was no fluke as Carlos Sainz qualified sixth, 0.16 seconds slower than Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull.

Daniil Kvyat missed out on the top ten due to being baulked by Hamilton on his fastest lap, but grid penalties to both McLarens mean the Russian will start ninth.

Sainz has finished in the points in every race except Bahrain, where he tripped over Lance Stroll as he emerged from the pits. Kvyat has two points finishes this season, including in Spain last time where he started 19th.

Mechanical gremlins are often Toro Rosso's Achilles heel, but they have suffered just one failure this year and evens looks a decent price for both cars to come home in the top ten.

V Bottas
1pt each-way 14-1 bet365
Toro Rosso double points finish
2pts Evens Sky Bet

Bottas has made some great starts recently, going from third into the lead before winning in Russia
E.W. Terms
Sky bet