- Following his record-breaking 2020 campaign, Lewis Hamilton opens as a heavy favorite to claim his eighth career Formula 1 title
- Max Verstappen leads a growing group of young talented drivers ready to challenge Hamilton for the crown
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds as Formula 1 enters the 2021 season
After dominating the F1 circuit yet again during a pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Lewis Hamilton has emerged as an early -250 favorite to claim a fifth straight title in the F1 Drivers Championship odds.
The winner in 11 of his 16 race appearances in 2020, Hamilton established a new record with 95 career victories while equalling the legendary Michael Schumacher’s record with a seventh career F1 title. But with a new generation of young drivers bursting onto the season, can Hamilton continue to dominate the world’s fastest sport?
Odds to Win 2021 Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship
|Carlos Sainz Jr.||+4900|
Odds as of December 16, 2020
Hamilton in a Class by Himself
An uneven finish to the 2019 season, followed by a finish off the podium in the 2020 season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, suggested that Hamilton’s reign as the world’s best driver may soon end. However, Hamilton quickly returned to form. In addition to matching his win total from all of 2019 while participating in five fewer races.
Your top ? from an unforgettable year
All of them scored podiums, including two first-time winners!#AbuDhabiGP ?? #F1 pic.twitter.com/xbi59VkVus
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 13, 2020
Of course, both Hamilton and Bottas benefited from Mercedes’ clear technological edge. Preseason concerns about the potential emergence of Ferrari as the threat to the Silver Arrows’ dominance were quickly allayed by Hamilton’s rebound in the Styrian Grand Prix, and Bottas’ continued consistent results.
Bottas’ Long-Term Future at Mercedes in Doubt?
The 31-year Finn tallied two victories this season, and was also a regular presence on the podium with 11 podium finishes, earning him second place in the F1 Drivers Standings for a second straight year.
So Bottas and Russell have both taken Mercedes and Williams out of their Instagram bios respectively…. strange ? #F1 pic.twitter.com/1cchi7mZMt
— chris (@UTFB97) December 8, 2020
That has lifted Bottas to a solid +500 bet to claim his first career F1 title, placing him alongside Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. However, with George Russell outdriving Bottas in Bahrain while filling in for Hamilton as he battled COVID-19, Bottas’ future with Mercedes has been cast into doubt.
Verstappen’s Star on the Rise
Over at Red Bull, there is no question as to Verstappen’s status. The 23-year-old enjoyed a feast-or-famine campaign, failing to finish on five occasions, but reaching the podium in 11 of the 12 races he did complete. That run was capped by an impressive pole-to-post victory in last week’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Max Verstappen took an unexpectedly dominant victory for Red Bull at the #AbuDhabiGP as one of the stars of F1 2020 brushed world champions Mercedes aside to finish off the season in impressive style.
Read today’s Race Report ?⤵️#SkyF1 | #F1
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) December 13, 2020
Verstappen enjoys company among the Silver Arrows at the top of the odds, but he is far from the only rising star positioned to take a leap forward next season.
Russell has yet to earn a single F1 point in his two seasons with Williams Racing. But in the wake of his promising performance in Abu Dhabi and the doubts it has risen about Bottas’s future with Mercedes, the 22-year-old currently sits knotted with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at +2500.
Vettel Primed for Rebound at Red Bull
Carlos Sainz is set to join Leclerc at Ferrari after two steady seasons with McLaren and is knotted with veteran Fernando Alonso as a +5000 bet. Alonso will make his return to Formula 1 next season following a two-year absence, taking over at Alpine F1 (formerly Renault F1) from Daniel Ricciardo, who moves to McLaren sporting +6600 odds.
Who else will miss Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris together at McLaren next year? ?♂️?♀️#AbuDhabiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/8GW3zVQvwd
— Race Notes ? (@Race_Notes) December 8, 2020
Both Sainz’s former McLaren teammate Lando Norris and four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel also sport +6600 odds. Vettel is set to join Aston Martin F1 (formerly Racing Point) after a stormy six-year stint with Ferrari that ended with a disappointing 13th-place finish this past season.
P13 for Sebastian Vettel at @SochiAutodrom.
Seb on the team radio: “The car was very difficult to drive. I tried everything but not much I could do”.
Ferrari: “Thanks for the effort”. #RussianGP ?? #Vettel #SV5 pic.twitter.com/uRmLOlSM1m
— Sebastian Vettel #5 (@sebvettelnews) September 27, 2020
With the performance of Ferrari’s car falling well short of expectations, Vettel reached the podium just once in 2020, while finishing out of the points on eight occasions. That is likely to change with his move to Aston Martin, and their trademark Pink Mercedes, which emerged as the most surprising car of the 2020 campaign.
What About Sergio?
The most notable omission from the early F1 Drivers Championship odds is Sergio Perez. Powered by his first career win in Bahrain, Perez marched to a fourth-place finish in the standings. But with Vettel taking his seat at Aston Martin, and with no contract signed elsewhere, Perez’ F1 future is in doubt.
Drivers with more points after Racing point announce that Checo Perez was leaving Racing Point. ??
1 Lewis Hamilton
2 Sergio Perez
3 Valteri Bottas#perez #redbull #red #bull #f1 #Formula1 pic.twitter.com/25xZtguRpr
— Belko F1 (@christianbelko) December 15, 2020
Persistent rumors suggest Perez is close to joining Red Bull, replacing Alex Albon, who is coming off a disappointing campaign. A move to Red Bull would immediately lift the talented Mexican into the top five in the championship odds. But with so many personnel questions remaining unanswered, finding value in the early odds is tough. Hamilton remains a logical best bet, but with such short odds on a bet that is a year away from a payout, sports bettors would be wiser to hold their bets until next season’s teams are finalized.