One of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport will try and capture his third straight Formula One world drivers championship in 2019.
Lewis Hamilton, already a five-time F1 world champ, is statistically the most successful British racing driver ever with 73 career victories. He also holds records for the all-time most career points (3,018), the most wins at different circuits (26), the all-time most pole positions (83) and the most grand slams in a season (3).
The Formula One Schedule kicks off on March 17 with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and crosses the finish line nine months later on Dec. 1 with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
The 21-race season makes three stops in North America: Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on June 9, Mexican Grand Prix in Mexico City on Oct. 27, and Formula One Austin in the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on Nov. 3.
Hamilton, who drives the Mercedes car No. 44, is also the favorite (+125) in Formula One 2019 Odds (future odds provided by Bovada). Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany (+170) is the second choice, while Charles Leclerc of Monaco (+600) is the third pick.
Both Vettel and Leclerc drive for Team Ferrari, which has not won a constructors’ title since 2008.
Formula One Odds Explained
The number after a plus sign in front of the posted odds is the amount of profit a bettor earns on a $100 futures bet. The futures bet in this case is the Formula One world championship title. The odds will change throughout the season, but your odds are fixed at the time of your bet.
Hamilton is currently the favorite to win the championship at +125, meaning a bettor who wagers $100 on the reigning champ will earn $225 if he can keep his title streak alive ($100 bet + $125 profit = $225 total return). For Vettel (+170), a $100 bet would return $270 ($100 bet + $170 profit = $270 total return).
The following is a breakdown of the betting favorites for the 2019 F1 racing season, including car number and constructor (odds provided by Bovada):
Lewis Hamilton +125
No. 44 (Mercedes) Hamilton surged into second place in the all-time win column behind racing legend Michael Schumacher and surpassed Jackie Stewart for the most championship titles by a British driver.
Sebastian Vettel +170
No. 5 (Ferrari) Vettel’s impressive resume consists of four world crowns and more than 50 pole positions and victories, ranking him above many of the biggest names in F1 history.
Charles Leclerc +600
No. 16 (Ferrari) An impressive debut on the 2018 F1 circuit earned Leclerc a promotion to a seat in one of two Ferrari cars.
Max Verstappen +900
No. 33 (Red Bull Racing) The baby-faced Dutchman hit the F1 circuit at 17 years of age. Expectations are high for a breakout season for Verstappen.
Valtteri Bottas +2500
No. 77 (Mercedes) The Finnish driver is a points machine. His ability to finish among the leaders earned Bottas a shot with Mercedes.
Pierre Gasly +4000
No. 10 (Red Bull Racing) After a number of impressive performances in 2018, the 22-year-old Frenchman gains a shot with the A team.
Daniel Ricciardo +6600
No. 3 (Renault) A regular podium finisher and two-time winner last season, the Australian starts a new chapter with Team Renault.
The 13 other drivers on the F1 circuit are all listed at odds of 150-1 or more.
Mercedes, which has won the last five titles, is the top pick (-118) in futures betting in the constructors’ category. Ferrari is the second choice (+155), while Red Bull Racing (+450) is third.
F1 Championship Predictions
While Lewis Hamilton has dominated the winner’s circle in the last six seasons, FIA officials are hoping some new aerodynamic rule changes will lead to more overtaking and exciting racing action this year.
The new front wing has been made wider and simplified to reduce turbulence. It will allow cars to race closer together, increasing the chance of passing other vehicles. But rules have been changed every year and it hasn’t slowed the success of Hamilton, who won on 11 different circuits in 2018 and finished with 408 points.
Hamilton, who has a contract with Mercedes through the 2020 season, also finished in the top three 16 times out of the 21 worldwide races last year and a whopping 88 points ahead of second-place finisher Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel had five victories and 12 top threes. He looks to regain the title that he hasn’t won since 2013.
Kimi Raikkonen had one victory and 12 top threes to finish third overall last season, but the Finnish driver ended his eight-year long Ferrari career to join the Alfa Romeo team.
The biggest wild card among the betting favorites is Charles Leclerc, who has a seat in one of the coveted Ferrari cars. Leclerc, who finished 13th in the standings last year, has posted some blistering times in qualifying early this season.
“It’s his second year, he’s young, he’s going to make mistakes,” Hamilton said. “He’s obviously very quick, very talented, and hopefully, most likely, he’s going to surprise many, many people.”
Leclerc’s time will come, but it takes more than raw speed to dethrone the champ.