Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes defend their respective driver and constructor crowns won at a canter. For the former, it gave him a fourth world title in five seasons while Mercedes claimed their fifth consecutive championship.
Recently completed 2019 testing promises a much closer season in the pursuit may deliver. Scuderia brought a car to testing which had Sebastian Vettel cooing with delight.
It was quickest albeit only by 3/1000th’s of a second, but Mercedes’ own car is, according to Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, far from being as complete as the SF90. The reigning champions are downplaying the prospects of getting off to a winning start with Hamilton predicting Mercedes won’t improve in time for Melbourne.
Lewis Hamilton – Serial Winner
Despite his words, the bookmakers still rate Hamilton is a clear favourite with 888sport making him 1/10 ON to retain his title – bizarrely the same as Max Verstappen – with Vettel at 7/20.
An interesting outsider is Charles Leclerc who is Ferrari’s #2 this season, who is 5/1 with 188Bet. Bottas, Hamilton’s second, is 25/1 with most bookmakers; Verstappen is between the two at 11/1 with Black Type.
Hamilton is 5/4 with sky bet to win more races than any other driver this season which is perfectly reasonable given he is 2/1 to win the opening race in Melbourne in ten days.
However, despite his remarkable prowess, beating Michael Schumacher’s 91 GP wins will take some doing. Hamilton needs to win 19 out of the 21 races this season to do and frankly sky bet, I’d want better odds than 5/6 on that happening, particularly given the 5/4 on offer above.
Which, in fairness, is exactly what the 200/1 on him to win every race this season are. Impossibly high for an impossible mission. Perhaps we should get odds on him starring in the next Mission: Impossible film…?
If you fancy the Monaco-based Briton to win the next two titles – 2019 and 2020 – then it’s 9/2 but the next three in a row is 10/1. That presumes he wins this season which is by no means certain.
Mattia Binotto, Scuderia Ferrari team principal, paved the way for Sebastian Vettel and the highly-rated Charles Leclerc to become embroiled in a battle royale during the coming season.
The Italian declared there would no team orders unless an “ambiguous situation” demands them. Quite what that means beyond Vettel or Ferrari not win the title is unclear. Indeed, the pair could take points off each other and leave the way open for Lewis Hamilton to nick the driver’s championship.
Which is music to Leclerc’s ears? He is 4/5 with sky bet to finish in the top three this season, a generous price given the price for a podium finish is only 10/11.
The Monegasque enjoyed an impressive debut F1 season with Sauber in 2018 where he finished 13th, despite five retirements during GPs. Arguably those in Japan and the USA were damaging, robbing him of challenging Carlos Sainz in 10th.
He is just 2/7 to win a GP this season but the battle with Vettel is intriguing. It will be a brave man who takes up the 2/1 offered by sky bet that Leclerc will win more races than his team-mate.
Ferrari’s #1 driver is fighting on two fronts with Hamilton and Leclerc. After four consecutive titles between 2010 and 2013, it’s been slim pickings for the German since. Back-to-back runners-up slots in the last two seasons are indicative of the drive Ferrari provided.
This season, Vettel is a healthy 13/8 to win most races and the same to outscore Lewis Hamilton. That naturally puts him in pole position to win the drivers title which isn’t as generous as the 2/1 to win the championship outright.
The interesting double is Vettel and Ferrari to win the championships which are 11/4 with sky bet.
Mercedes and Ferrari are the two favourites for the championship with Ladbrokes offering 19/20 on the former. However, the reports out of testing in Barcelona suggest a power shift is underway while BetVictor’s 13/8 is very attractive for the Italians.
The dark horses are Red Bull. Honda’s engine performed well in testing until Pierre Gasly’s crash. Max Verstappen’s positive talk of the design bodes well, with a dynamic grip apparent which he needs for cornering strongly. At 15/2 with Paddy Power, they are certainly worth an each-way bet.