Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Hamilton favourite to handle F1 title pressure

By Robert Fenton

The bald facts are there for all to see as the tension grows on the final lap for the F1 Drivers' Championship.

And it is not just the tyres which will feel the pressure on in Brazil on Sunday week.

The odds are still in favour of Hamilton (4-11) who had the title in the bag before his intermediate tyres on the McLaren car disintegrated, causing him to spin off and out of the Chinese Grand Prix.

That opened the door for Kimi Raikkonen to win and cut Hamilton's lead to seven points while champion Fernando Alonso lies second, only four adrift.

It was a team blunder which halted Hamilton in his tracks in his bid to become the first rookie to win the title in his initial season.

It is the first three-way title-decider since 2003 when Michael Schumacher pipped Raikkonen and Juan Pablo-Montoya.

With no constructor's title at stake, McLaren will almost certainly, leave it to the bitter rivals to sort out it out between them.

With Raikkonen off the pace, the Finn can only win if he's first or second and the McLaren pair fail to pick up a point; or win and see Hamilton no better than sixth and Alonso no better than third.

Alonso takes the crown if he wins and Hamilton fails to be second; or finishes second provided Lewis is sixth or worse.

Hamilton will be champion if he wins, finishes second or is fourth or better on the basis of Alono being second.

Hamilton is 4-11 to emerge number one, with Alonso 7-2 and Raikkonen 14-1. Interesting, the tricast betting for Sao Paulo as set by Bet 365 is: 4-9 Hamilton-Alonso-Raikkonen; 7-1 Hamilton-Raikkonen-Alonso; 7-2 Alonso-Hamilton-Raikkonen; 14-1 Alonso-Raikkonen-Hamilton; 20-1 Raikkonen-Hamilton-Alonso; 50-1 Raikkonen-Alonso-Hamilton.

England cheered from Emerald Isle

One Dublin punter has no qualms about cheering on the 'old enemy.'

He placed €7,000 on England to retain rugby's World Cup at odds of 22-1 with Paddy Power before France ended the hopes of ante-post favourites New Zeland.

The intrepid gambler will rake in €161,000 should Brian Ashton's men defy the odds and do the unthinkable.

England's odds tumbled to just 9-1 as France triumphed and have since shortened again to 7-1, but they remain rank outsiders to triumph.

Next up in the semi-final is France who are 6-4 to win outright with South Africa favourites at 11-8.

Argentina will once again relish in their position as underdogs to beat the Springboks, were pre-tournament 66-1 shots are now just 6-1 to get their hands on the Webb Ellis Trophy.

Paddy Power: To win World Cup: 11-8 South Africa; 6-4 France; 6-1 Argentina and 7-1 England.

Name finalists: 4-6 South Africa and France; 11-4 France and Argentina; 4-1 England and South Africa; 12-1 England and Argentina.

Semi-finals: 1-4 France; 25-1 draw 11-4 England; 1-3 SA; 22-1 draw; 9-4 Argentina.

Fallon's future is under microscope

It is the best of times and the worst of times for Kieren Fallon.

After landing the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe for the second time, courtesy of Dylan Thomas who was giving trainer Aidan O'Brien his first success in this the biggest race in Europe, it is back to court appearances for Kieren before our learned friends at the Old Bailey.

The under-fire jockey who also won the race on Hurricane Run two years ago, certainly did not let the pressures of what lies ahead affect him at Longchamp where he survived another sort of inquiry before the result stood.

The Irishman will be hoping that a jury gives him a similar favourable result in the months ahead.

William Hill go 8-11 that he will not be riding in next year's Arc and evens to be in the saddle come the first Sunday in October in 2008.

If he is found guilty of the charges against him, he will be warned off, but if found innocent, will continue to thrill his supporters with plenty of more winners in the years to come.

Will Fallon ride in the 2008 Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe: 8-11 No; Evens Yes.

Belfast Telegraph


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