Best Bets For The 2018 Formula 1 Season

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Mar 6, 2018
Best bets for the 2018 Formula 1 season

Tom McKean

There's no shortage of story lines heading into F1's 2018 opening circuit, the Australian Grand Prix. With the addition of Halo devices to cockpits, driver changes and the return of ESPN coverage, it will be a big year for Formula 1.

Can Lewis Hamilton earn a fifth driver's championship? Will Sebastian Vettel or 20-year-old Max Verstappen stand in the way? Does anyone have a chance of stopping Mercedes?

There is plenty of betting value heading into the season, and to help you navigate the chicane, here's a look at some of the best bets for the season, along with a look to the opener in Melbourne.

Note: All odds via William Hill sportsbook, as of March 23.
What's the best bet for the 2018 season?

My surest bet for 2018 is Mercedes winning a fifth straight constructors' championship at 4-11.

Even if Hamilton doesn't win the title (he's currently the 4-7 favorite to do so), Mercedes could easily still win the constructors' championship thanks to a driver lineup that is more reliable than that of Red Bull or Ferrari. Even if a mechanical issue or two catches up to Hamilton, teammate Valtteri Bottas is one of the most sure-handed drivers in the sport, whereas I have too many questions surrounding Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen's pace and consistency. Red Bull could very well be in the mix, too, but it's a tough sell that its duo will combine to outpace both Mercedes drivers.

Is there value in Hamilton winning the driver's championship at 4-7?

It's not necessarily a terrible bet, but for that kind of payout, it would suggest that he really doesn't have much in the way of threats this year, which just isn't true. He should no doubt be the favorite, but there's too much upside among the other strong runners. Vettel, Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen are all legitimate championship threats this season.

Also consider the territory Hamilton is currently in. One of the greatest ever is in the midst of the best stretch of his career, as the four-time champion hasn't had a retirement since Malaysia in 2016 when his engine let go. That's 25 straight starts finishing in the points, just two shy of Raikkonen's all-time mark of 27. Everything is going right, and while I still see him in top form this year, I do think he runs into a mechanical gremlin at some point. History says it's not realistic to believe he's going to go another full season without a major mechanical issue, and whether that impacts his title chances is anyone's guess, but that engine failure in 2016 was arguably the reason he's not a five-time champion today.

Should Bottas be getting more consideration?

Bottas has been tough on himself when reflecting on his maiden season with Mercedes, but he had a strong year as the clear third-best performer on the grid. He'll be more of a force this year, especially after winning from the pole in the 2017 season finale at Abu Dhabi. Finishing strong matters, and recent history backs up that sentiment.

In 2014, Lewis Hamilton entered the offseason as the most recent race winner and went on to win the title the next year. The same can be said for Nico Rosbergclosing 2015 with a win before his lone title in 2016. Hamilton would continue the trend the very next season.

Arguably no driver on the grid has more pressure to perform this year than Bottas, who is driving under a one-year contract in 2018. He's got this season, and this season only, to prove he is a championship-caliber driver. He has the team, and I believe he has the makeup, as well.

His 10-1 odds to win the title is downright good value.

Does Verstappen have the capability to win a championship with Red Bull?

He absolutely does, and for me this is a question of when rather than if. It might be tough to believe, but 2018 will be his fourth season in Formula 1, and he's still just 20 years old. His best years are well ahead of him, and he's started to iron out the mistakes you typically see young drivers make. His aggressive nature, once a hindrance, will now prove to be his best asset in the years ahead.

Verstappen's first half to 2017 was a disaster, with his Red Bull letting him down on multiple occasions, including brake failure in Bahrain, energy store issues in Canada and engine failures in Azerbaijan and Spa. In total, he had a staggering seven retirements before his first win of the year in Malaysia.

But in the final six starts of last season, he racked up 100 points, equal to champion Lewis Hamilton for the most in the series during that stretch. He is ready to have a breakout season, and 2018 could very well be his year. He's 13-2 at take home the season hardware.

What can we expect at Australia?

Australia's Albert Park in Melbourne has served as a great opener to the F1 season. Its narrow public streets provide for a real challenge, and with even more tire compounds to choose from this year, it should provide for some true intrigue in terms of strategy.

Recently, this has been a favorable track for Ferrari. The Prancing Horse took victory here a year ago, and Ferrari had the clear pace for victory the previous year until its pit strategy ultimately cost the team a win. I wouldn't be surprised if Ferrari was the team to beat here again, with Vettel taking the win. He's listed at 6-1 for the top step of the podium, so you'd be getting strong value.

Surprise driver to make the podium at Australia?

My choice would be Haas' Romain Grosjean. Haas has traditionally shown some of its best pace of the season in Melbourne, and Grosjean has been front and center in that effort. He qualified sixth here a year ago and finished sixth at Albert Park in Haas' maiden grand prix back in 2016. Grosjean is 12-1 to earn a top-three finish, and currently has 80-1 odds to win.



Jun 4, 2016
Fi is onbe of my best sports...made alot of money last few years...its getting predictive imo. I do still enjoy a good race

It's my favourite betting sport too.

What did you make of Australian GP?

For me;
  • Disappointed Mercedes and Ferrari appear a long way ahead of field. Even clearly ahead of Red Bull IMHO. Evidenced by Ricciardo not being able to challenge Kimi for a podium spot despite having much newer tyres (13 laps I think?)
  • Ferrari engine seems to have caught or passed Mercedes finally. Not a terrible thing in tens of change but in reality only Ferrari, Ferrai II (Haas) and Sauber have it, unlike Merc who has Williams and Force India who are independant enough. Ferrai controls all 3 teams with their engine. Hate that.
  • On other hand very pleased to see the US team come out of the blocks looking so strong. Of course disappointing they stuffed it up with both cars, but considering the money and committment Gene Haas has put in, plus the team just beng a good group, it's nice to see the success. Too many questionable type like Briatrori and Malaya in the sport. Need more like Gene.
  • Sad to see Honda fail so miserably after looking so good in testing.
  • Disappointed to see McLaren still looking like a bit second rate.
  • Disappionted to see Williams fading into nothingness. Get rid of the Stroll family virus and get back to racing Wiliams!
  • Guess it is good to see Ferrari win a race in 2018, was disappointing to see Kimi robbed of the win by that safety car thing and the wrong team strat choice. He had looked better all weekend and deserved the win there. At least over Vettel. Probably going to bet on Kimi to beat Seb head to head in a few of the next races.
  • Pleased to see Ricciardo looking good to match Verstappen after one race.
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