The 2019 Formula 1 season promises to be an exciting one because it promises changes in and out of the grid with drivers switching teams and teams tweaking their cars in response to rule changes.
The F 2019 World Championship gets underway on March 17, 2019 with the Australian Grand Prix at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia as the first of the 21 Grand Prix races of the season.
With that race barely a month away, let’s take a look at who are the favorites to win the top awards this year:
Who Are The Favorites?
After a very dominant 2018 season, Lewis Hamilton opened as the favorite to win the 2019 F1 Drivers Championship. Hamilton is currently pegged at +135 to win his sixth Drivers Championship. Last season, Hamilton won 11 out of the 21 races on his way to claiming his fifth Drivers Championship while leading Mercedes to its fifth straight Constructors Championship as well.
To show how dominant the Brit has been on the F1 scene, Hamilton has now won four out of the last five Drivers’ championships with a victory by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in 2016 sandwiched between two back to back victories in the previous five seasons. With his dominance on full display, Hamilton now has his sights set on the great Michael Shumacher’s record of seven Drivers Championships.
Ferrari’s lead driver Sebastian Vettel comes next in the oddsboard at +175. Scuderia’s German ace was actually also gunning for his 5th Drivers Championship total last year and halfway the season, it looked as if he and Hamilton would be going toe to toe to the finish as the two of them combined to with 10 of the first 13 races of the season with five wins apiece. However, Hamilton went on a zone to finish the season, winning six out of the last eight races to seal his victory.
There are major changes to Ferrari this season. Kimi Raikkonen has moved to Alpha Romeo and will be replaced by ex-Sauber driver Charles LeClerc. The 21-year old Monegasque is a rising star in the sport and is expected to give Vettel a tougher challenge than Raikkonen did but Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said recently that LeClerc won’t be given equal standing at the start of the season and that the team would ‘prioritize’ Vettel.
The very popular Max Verstappen is in third spot at +900. Red Bull’s Belgian star is entering his fourth season with the team and to date, he only holds five race wins in four tracks through three seasons with Red Bull. Verstappen won in Spain in 2016, Malaysia and Mexico the following season and then then triumphed in Austria and Mexico against last year.
Red Bull though is expected to undergo some growing pains and possible penalties with the team changing engines to Honda. Verstappen will also have a new teammate in Frenchman Pierre Gasly who replaces Daniel Ricciardo who surprisingly took his act to Renault. Knowing Gasly’s reputation during his stint at the Japanese Super Formula Championships, some are expecting fireworks between the two.
Here are the complete Odds for both the 2019 F1 Drivers and Constructors Championships. The odds were taken from betonline.ag as of 3/11/19:
Odds to Win the 2019 Constructors Championship:
Odds to Win the 2019 Drivers Championship:
|Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)||+135|
|Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)||+175|
|Max Verstappen (Red Bull)||+900|
|Charles LeClerc (Ferrari)||+450|
|Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)||+2500|
|Pierre Gasly (Red Bull)||+4000|
|Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)||+4000|
|Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)||+15000|
|Carlos Sainz (McLaren)||+20000|
|Kevin Magnussen (Haas)||+30000|
|Romain Grosjean (Haas)||+30000|
|Sergio Perez (Racing Point)||+30000|
LeClerc is fourth on the list at +450 while Hamilton’s Silver Arrows teammate Valtteri Bottas is fifth at +2500 and Gasly at +4000. But really, this year’s Championship will likely be dispute between the top three favorites. Personally, I am a fan of Verstappen but he and Vettel have their own issues in their respective squads. With Hamilton coming off a very dominant season, I think the best bet right now is Lewis Hamilton. This may be the best time to put your bet on the Brit as he is expected to get more expensive as the season starts and when he starts piling up the victories again.
As for the Constructors Championship, Mercedes at -120 has won the last five season because their drivers have dominated the last five seasons. While the engine plays a significant role in their victories, remember that Hamilton had a slower card than Vettel last season, based on one-lap pace. At +155, Ferrari is expected to come up big this season but until Vettel toppled Hamilton, I don’t see them winning the Constructors Championship this season. However, if you ask me, Ferrari is the only team this season other than Mercedes which is capable of winning the Championship.
Red Bull ended its partnership with Renault and signed a two-year deal to work with the ever-improving Honda. Last season, Red Bull’s highly publicized aero package did give Mercedes and Ferrari some fits and if the team of Milton Keynes can improve on that, I think Red Bull is going to be the third force again this season. But as stated above, I’m expecting growing pains from Red Bull who is at +350.
I know it’s been boring picking the same driver and constructor over and over again the last four or so seasons but that’s just how dominant they have been over that period.
If you ask me for a dark horse pick though, I like Charles LeClerc’s value at +450 as the 2018 rookie showed plenty of promise and looks to be the real deal after leading Sauber to an 8th place finish following a last place performance the year before. And as I said earlier, I think only Ferrari +250 is capable of toppling the Silver Arrows in the car makers department.