We are a little under a month away from the F1 testing run, which is set to go on Feb 23-25 in Sakhir. After that, the full season will begin in the first weekend in March, with the opening race of the 2023 F1 season set to go in Bahrain. The new season will begin with Max Verstappen coming in as the 2-time defending World Champion. He will start the year as the favorite to win again, which we will get to in a minute, but there are a few other drivers who could push him a good deal harder than they did last season. Verstappen looks like the smart bet, especially when you consider his dominance in 2022, but is there value to be found with one of the other drivers? Let’s take a look at the current Formula 1 Odds.
Before the F1 Season Start Updated Odds to Win Drivers Championship
Max Verstappen (-134)
Verstappen won his first World Championship in 2021 under controversial circumstances, but any doubt about his ability to be champion was washed away last season. Verstappen delivered an absolutely stunning performance in 2022, winning a staggering 15 races and had the championship wrapped up with plenty of races to spare. While it will be difficult to maintain that level of dominance, he has to be considered the man to beat again in 2023. He is the favorite again for a very good reason and I think he is going to be difficult to knock off for quite some time.
Lewis Hamilton (+300)
In the grand scheme of things, it was a bit of a nightmare season for Hamilton in 2022. It would be easy to suggest that he took a major step back due to diminishing talent, but the general consensus was that it was more of a Mercedes issue than anything to do with Hamilton’s driving ability. I don’t see them struggling that way again, and I certainly don’t see Hamilton having back-to-back seasons where he doesn’t win a race. In fact, last season was the first time that he failed to win a race during his time with F1. This could prove to be a bounce back year for Hamilton, so he may be worth a look at these odds.
Charles Leclerc (+520)
During his time with F1, Leclerc has been consistent without ever really challenging for a World Championship. That all changed last year when he finished 2nd, albeit a very distant 2nd, in the driver standings. Leclerc got out to a fast start, winning 2 of the first 3 races and finishing 2nd in the other, but it proved to be a pace he could not maintain. He failed to win another race after that, but he did have a lot of podium finishes the rest of the way. If he can have a similar season in 2023 and turn some of those 2nd and 3rd place finishes into wins, he might just be a stronger challenger this time around.
George Russell (+780)
Russell made the switch from Williams to Mercedes last year, and while the team struggled to be at its best, he still managed to end up 4th overall in the driver standings. Russell has just 1 win on the season, but he also landed on the [odium in 7 other races. If Mercedes can up their game and get a better vehicle on the track for the 2023 season, Russell might well prove to be a bit of a dark horse.
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