Formula 1 Betting

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Formula One Betting

The only constant in Formula One racing is change. After eight years of dominating the world’s biggest open-wheeled auto racing circuit, Mercedes are almost certainly doomed to concede the Constructors’ Championship in 2022 – and it’s all because of the latest rule changes. F1 officials are trying their level best to create a more competitive sport with their new sweeping technical regulations, most of which are centered around aerodynamics. The teams who adjusted fastest are already well out in front of the F1 betting pack. Mercedes are not one of those teams.

Racing fans have already heard the word “porpoising” more times in the past few weeks than they had in their entire lives. Because Mercedes didn’t quite get their aerodynamics right, their cars tend to rock from front to back as they travel forwards, not unlike a porpoise bobbing up and down through the waves. That extra motion costs Mercedes valuable fractions of a second per lap, enough to make them essentially non-competitive until they fix things.

It isn’t just the Mercedes team itself, though. The other three teams who use Mercedes engines – Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams – have also experienced difficulty during practice, qualifying and racing. The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20 saw Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell take third and fourth; the remaining Mercedes-equipped cars finished at the back of the pack.

But at least they finished the race. Max Verstappen, the reigning F1 Drivers’ champion, sputtered out of second place with just three laps remaining. Then his Red Bull Racing teammate, Sergio Perez, was eliminated on the final lap – both with fuel pressure concerns. This allowed Ferrari (Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr) to sweep the top two positions. Ferrari engines also took fifth (Kevin Magnussen, Haas), sixth (Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo) and 10th (Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo) once the dust settled.

Ferrari and Red Bull were clearly at the head of the class during testing, and with Red Bull apparently solving their issues in time for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this past Sunday, it was hardly a shock to see these two rivals gobble up even more points. This time it was Verstappen winning the race after an exciting back-and-forth battle with Leclerc. Sainz finished third ahead of Perez, then it was Russell in fifth. Hamilton placed a disappointing 10th, in what turned out to be another disappointment for Mercedes.

It’s possible that Mercedes will get this straightened out soon enough. Their F1 team has been known to “cry wolf” in the past about how behind their cars were, only to destroy the competition and win every single Constructors’ title since 2014 inclusive. But even before the first race, Hamilton was downcast about his team’s chances of competing anytime in the immediate future. We’ll see if they can make any headway between now and the Australian Grand Prix on April 10.

Latest 2022 F1 Odds

While everyone takes a deep breath and gets ready for the third race of the season, here’s how the top five favorites for the F1 Driver’s Championship stack up at Bovada Sportsbook as we go to press.

1. Max Verstappen (–120)

Despite edging Hamilton for the Drivers’ title last year, Verstappen started the 2022 campaign as the +225 second favorite. The victory in Saudi Arabia puts Verstappen firmly in the lead, although it does look like Red Bull and Ferrari will be in close combat the rest of the way. Failing to complete the first race in Bahrain could prove to be Verstappen’s downfall when all is said and done. However, the reigning champion does have a firm grip on his team’s No. 1 status, unlike the next person on our list.

2. Charles Leclerc (+175)

Make no mistake, Leclerc is the lead driver for Scuderia Ferrari, but the gap between him and Sainz isn’t nearly as cavernous as that between Verstappen and Perez – although Perez did earn pole position in Saudi Arabia. Leclerc has already made giant steps up the F1 betting ladder after starting the season at +1100; he’s the current leader in the points standings, and could take that head start over Verstappen all the way to the finish line.

3. Lewis Hamilton (+900)

It’s not easy giving up on the seven-time Drivers’ champion. Hamilton was the +110 favorite just before this year’s cars were unveiled for the first time, but after that awful 10th in Saudi Arabia – which was partly due to a missed opportunity to make a pit stop while the Virtual Safety Car (introduced in 2015) was out – Hamilton is already 29 points behind Leclerc in fifth place. He’s even behind his teammate Russell (+2800) heading into Race No. 3.

4. Carlos Sainz Jr. (+1600)

This has already been a much better season for both Ferrari drivers, but Sainz has only managed to improve his odds from +2000 after taking second in Bahrain and third in Saudi Arabia. Sainz did finish ahead of Leclerc in last year’s standings, though, so there might still be some betting value with the young Spaniard. It wouldn’t be his first title; Sainz was the 2011 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC champion, and the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion.

5. Sergio Perez (+2500)

Vaulting into fifth place is Perez, who earned 12 points in Saudi Arabia to sit in seventh place. The 32-year-old Mexican was no doubt overjoyed to earn the No. 2 job at Red Bull after years of struggling with lesser teams – Perez set the F1 record with 190 starts before finally winning his first race, the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, with Racing Point (now Aston Martin). It’s been smooth sailing for Perez since he joined Red Bull last year, even if he still has to play second fiddle to Verstappen. Good work if you can get it.

*Odds as of March 30, 2022

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