Turkish GP betting tips: Max Verstappen to jump Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes engine penalty looms

A potential engine penalty for Lewis Hamilton is the biggest factor to consider for those betting on the Turkish Grand Prix.

We have reached that stage of a record 22-race campaign where the rules governing engine pools are starting to bite - as Max Verstappen found in Russia last time out.

Only three new engines per driver for an entire season is a massive ask, and it looks as though the vast majority of the field will fall foul of that harsh regulation at some point.

Verstappen did so in Russia two weeks ago, when his fourth new power unit was fitted, incurring a penalty that put him at the back of the grid.

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It looked as though the Dutchman's hopes of wresting the World Championship away from Hamilton could be suffering a major setback, but that proved not to be the case as he stormed through to finish second to his title rival - helped by a late rain shower that caused chaos.

Now, in Istanbul, it could be Hamilton's turn to stage a recovery drive. Mercedes are on the limit with his pool of engines and rather than risk one failing, they have said it is a "possibility" a fourth may be needed in Turkey. It would be a "spontaneous" decision, so as not to allow Red Bull the luxury of much reaction time.

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With that sword of Damocles hanging over Hamilton, it is no wonder Verstappen is as short as 4/5 to win on a weekend when, again, there is a threat of rain - the latest forecast suggests qualifying is more likely to be affected than the race.

Having won easily in the end from sixth on the grid last year on a wet Turkish weekend, you could not write off Hamilton's victory chances even if he did start right at the back this time.

But from 20th, you would not want to be taking 6/4 and so Verstappen is the soundest option in the Race Winner market - especially as the third and fourth choices in the list, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez, increasingly have the prospect of team orders being imposed on them.

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Looking back to last year's race, which was one of the season's most memorable for several reasons, not least the awful weather, there is plenty for Aston Martin to be encouraged about.

At Racing Point, they enjoyed a strong end to 2020 and one of the highlights was the pole position Lance Stroll secured amid an Istanbul deluge. Not only that, but Perez started P3 on the grid.

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That was shown to be no fluke as the Canadian raced off into the lead and held a comfortable advantage until falling back in the second half of the race, with the cause having found to be front-wing damage. Perez, meanwhile, finished second to runaway winner Hamilton.

Both Stroll and his current team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, will look back on Istanbul 2020 with positive memories as the German clinched the only podium finish of his final year for Ferrari on a day when experience clearly came to the fore in difficult conditions - all of the top three drivers were in their 30s.

Stroll, perhaps because he is the team owner's son, tends to keep himself to himself and stay out of the headlines, and it has perhaps gone a little unnoticed that he is doing a respectable job again this season.

He has finished in the points in seven of this year's 15 races - three more than Vettel, although the German was admittedly disqualified from second place in Hungary - and is a largely consistent midfield performer.

At a circuit where he and the team have fared well in the past, odds of 5/4 appeal for Stroll to finish in the points - more so than the 10/11 quote for Vettel. You could even do worse than throw a few coppers at Stroll to finish on the podium at 25/1.

Finally, everything is well and truly out in the open now about Lando Norris' talent and potential after his agonising near miss in Russia, and that is consequently reflected in most of his odds.

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But what perhaps got slightly overlooked was that besides taking pole position at Sochi, the McLaren man also set the fastest lap of the race - emphasising again just how quick a driver he has become.

Therefore, odds of 20/1 for Norris to again set the 'purple' lap on Sunday in Istanbul look too big - and make much more appeal than, for example, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the same price in that market.