Paddy Power's predictions for Imola

Three races gone and three rather less than predictable results! The start of the European season will surely give us a truer indication of form - although McLaren and Renault might argue that their performances so far were a true reflection on performance. Paddy Power odds are up and posted for the San Marino Grand Prix, but keep one eye on the weather because chances are, it might rain again!

Paddy Power's predictions for Imola

The big question is whether Ferrari will return to form at Imola. If we look at last year, Michelin, then as now, shone in Malaysia and Brazil even though Ferrari won the latter. The heat durability of the French tyre gave them an advantage, but when we returned to the cooler climate of Europe, Ferrari and Bridgestone wiped the floor with everyone. There were many glum faces among Williams and McLaren personnel as they headed for Bologna airport on Sunday night last year.

Will it be the same again? McLaren boss Ron Dennis thinks not, pointing out in Brazil that the team had done a lot of sophisticated work with Michelin and that, in practice at Interlagos when the temperatures were relatively cool, Ferrari had not been dominant. Add in the absence of the new Ferrari F2003GA at Imola and there could be a little more shelf-life left in McLaren's MP4-17D yet.

Unpredictable conditions have gone a long way toward derailing the Ferrari express thus far, and it seems we could have more of the same at Imola. At the time of writing, Thursday, the local meteorologists are predicting a 55% chance of rain between 1-3pm on Sunday afternoon, with a 60% chance thereafter!

Michael Schumacher is 11-8 to win the race and to take the pole. Not especially attractive you might think. Rubens Barrichello is 11-2 for the win, which is marginally better than the 5-1 you can have on David Coulthard. Both are experienced, good in the wet and likely to see the chequered flag. If you are worried about Michael, you could opt for an each way bet (one fifth of the odds for a top three finish) and still get evens or slightly better.

Elsewhere, Toyota has shown pace but has not cracked reliability yet. With points down to eighth place now, they look a reasonable punt for points (Panis, 2/1 and Da Matta 10/3).

But it's still the special forecast bets that look most attractive. You can have 3-1 on a Ferrari 1-2 or 9-2 on Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen finishing first and second in any order. Replace Kimi with Coulthard and the odds go out to 11-2. Definitely worth a look.

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