Hamilton still F1 title favourite

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: March 29 2014, 10:40 GMT

Lewis Hamilton remains the Formula One world title favourite despite failing to finish the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg: Into 11/4 after winning the opening race of the new season
Nico Rosberg: Into 11/4 after winning the opening race of the new season

The British star, who usurped reigning champion Sebastian Vettel as favourite during pre-season testing, failed to finish after his Mercedes suffered an engine malfunction.

He was pushed out to 9/4 in the title betting by Sky Bet, Paddy Power and BetVictor following the race, one which was won by his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg duly shortened, although he stayed behind Hamilton in the market with the best price available being a general 11/4.

Hamilton was confident that reliability would improve, saying: "We will recover from this. It's just a small hiccup, there's a long way to go."

However, Rosberg was more than happy with his set-up, adding: "I'm over the moon right now and to have such an amazing Silver Arrow, this thing was unbelievably quick and the reliability was good.

"For now all our hard work has paid off, but we still have to improve because our competitors are not going to go to sleep.''

Vettel also didn't finish but he was trimmed in places after the Red Bull showed improvement from its miserable time in testing with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo crossing the line second, although he was later disqualified for a breach of the fuel regulations.

Ladbrokes were still prepared to offer 4/1 about the four-time champion though.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso comes next at 10/1 with McLaren new-boy Kevin Magnussen cut to 20s after he was bumped up to second following Ricciardo's disqualification.

The layers seem keen to keep Mercedes on side for the early weeks of the season with Hamilton and Rosberg chalked up as the 2/1 joint favourites by Sky Bet and Betfred for the next race, the Malaysian Grand Prix which takes place on March 30.

In the constructors' title betting, it's Mercedes 8/13, Red Bull 4/1 following the opening skirmishes in Melbourne.

  • Updated at 0955 GMT on 17/03/2014.