Monaco is always a tough result to predict, and with practice on a Thursday you’re even further from the start when trying to get a handle on who might be bothering the podium come the chequered flag. A good example of this was given when a weather-affected section finished with Jenson Button (10/1 for pole, Bet365) atop the leaderboard in the 1:15’s, while his teammate was eleventh.
This makes judging the absolute pace of the McLaren a difficult thing to do, and for me that is crucial in picking a favourite as it is clear Hamilton (19/2 for pole, Bwin) was the fastest man on the track last weekend. As poor as his team have been so far, which is not to downplay the errors made by Button’s pit crew, Lewis must at least start the weekend assuming he’ll have a chance at the win (3/1, BlueSquare).
Button (10/1, VictorChandler) himself was practicing his starts from pole, perhaps somewhat optimistically. As talented and sanguine as Jenson is, the move to McLaren has left him in the tough spot of being alongside a faster man, if not always a better driver and that means whenever his car is good, he’ll be looking for Lewis. For what it is worth, Coral have 2/1 on an unspecified McLaren winning the race, making them the favourite team.
Fernando Alonso (8/1 for pole, BetFred) has the race craft to win here, and the natural drop in pace that occurs when you race on such narrow courses will reduce the gap in ultimate performance between his Ferrari and the faster teams. If the Spaniard were to win (9/2, BetFred) it would be a remarkable result, and the same at the very least can be safely said for his struggling team-mate, Felipe Massa.
Other contenders will be Sebastian Vettel (8/1 for pole, StanJames) and Kimi Raikkonen (12/1 for pole, PaddyPower) although in practice the Red Bull did not look promising. A Vettel win (8/1, VictorChandler) or even one for the Finn (7/1, PaddyPower) would be a small surprise, but I like the odds on young Romain Grosjean (12/1 for pole, Bodog) having seen his pace in Thursday practice. The Frenchman could well take his first win (12/1, BetFred) on a sort-of home circuit, and the Renault side of his garage would love that.