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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Lewis Hamilton odds-on to rush to another pole position in Russia

Hulkenberg value to outpace Renault pal

Lewis Hamilton in practice at Sochi Autodrom
1 of 1

Russian Grand Prix qualifying
Sky Sports F1, 1pm Saturday

Lewis Hamilton is odds-on to take his fourth pole position in five races after a strong start to Russian Grand Prix weekend for the world champion's Mercedes team.

Sebastian Vettel set the pace for Ferrari in the morning but the German was half a second adrift of Hamilton in the afternoon, when he was also outpaced by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Verstappen and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo will have to start the race near the back due to engine change penalties, so are almost certain not to feature in the top-ten qualifying shootout.

Toro Rosso pair Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley also receive penalties along with McLaren's Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari began the season by running conservatively on Fridays, and as they are reaching the limit of the number of engines they are allowed to use before incurring penalties, it's quite possible there is more to come from the Prancing Horses in qualifying.

Hamilton had to pull out all the stops in Singapore and was only third on the grid in Italy previously so piling in to the odds-on may not be the best idea.

Nico Hulkenberg is rated the outsider in a qualifying match bet with his Renault teammate Carlos Sainz, and that looks wrong.

Sainz, who is off to McLaren next season, outpaced Hulkenberg in second practice despite his car being taken over by development driver Artem Markelov in the morning.

But too much shouldn't be read into that and Hulkenberg, who has outqualified Sainz at four of the last six races, could be a value bet at even-money.

N Hulkenberg to beat C Sainz in qualifying match bet
2pts Evs bet365

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It's quite possible there is more to come from the Prancing Horses in qualifying
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