Everything to play for
Heading into the final race of the Formula 1 season, the sport’s fans will agree that they have seen one of the most exciting Championships for years. Since the lights went out on the Bahrain Grand Prix in March, 2021 has brought highs and lows for every team and its drivers. From Pirelli tires bursting like balloons on the mean streets of Baku to Lando Norris’ rain-soaked Russian heartbreak, the season really has had it all.
controversial moment after controversial moment
Despite the drama capturing the rest of the field, the limelight has well and truly shone on the battle between Britain’s experienced Lewis Hamilton and Dutch youngster Max Verstappen. The drivers have found themselves in a dramatic tussle that has led to controversial moment after controversial moment.
The official F1 Twitter page recently shared a video of a dramatic collision between the pair in last weekend’s race in Saudi Arabia:
All this means that the stakes could not be higher heading into the final race this Sunday. Hamilton and Verstappen arrive at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix equal on points, meaning the smallest of mistakes could cost the entire season. Ultimately, the best man on the day will take the World Championship, and sportsbooks have estimated who that might be.
According to betting sites such as William Hill and DraftKings, Hamilton has a 69% chance of claiming his eighth title at -225.
A battle for the ages
Hamilton to win race -190
Verstappen to win race +205
Hamilton to win Championship -225
Verstappen to win Championship +130
Now in the twilight of his career, 36-year-old Hamilton has a lot on the line in Sunday’s race. He equaled the record for World Championship titles in 2020 after securing his seventh win, and another will mean he surpasses Michael Schumacher to become arguably the greatest F1 racer of all time. Only one man can now stop the Mercedes driver from achieving that goal.
Mercedes’ official Twitter page posted a preview of the season’s final race on Thursday:
Racing for Red Bull, Max Verstappen has demonstrated his undeniable talent over the past few seasons, but he has stepped it up another level this year. In 2021, the Dutchman has secured nine race wins and 16 podiums in what has proven his best racing year to date. Verstappen has often received criticism for his aggressive driving, with a number of penalties to match, and no doubt he will be ready to lay it all on the line this Sunday once more.
Verstappen has a 44% chance of winning in Abu Dhabi
For Hamilton to win the race, DraftKings has provided odds of -190. That gives him a win probability of around 66%, towering over Verstappen’s 33% at +205. In addition to pricing Hamilton at -225 to take the Championship, William Hill has delivered odds of +130 for Verstappen to secure his first title. That means Verstappen has a 44% chance of winning the Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Everybody loves an underdog
Bottas to win race +1000
Perez to win race +1600
Leclerc to win race +6500
Norris to win race +6500
Ricciardo to win race +8000
Gasly to win race +8000
Raikkonen to win race +20000
For gamblers who like to back a longshot, there are plenty of drivers who have the potential to take the top spot in Abu Dhabi. Of course, this includes Hamilton and Verstappen’s teammates, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez. BetMGM has given Mercedes man Bottas +1000 odds of taking the win, while Perez has a 6% chance of victory, according to the sportsbook, at +1600.
Leclerc and Norris have less than a 2% chance of winning
Meanwhile, a little further down the field, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mclaren’s Lando Norris are competing for fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship. Only Leclerc knows what it feels like to stand on the top step of the podium, but Norris came agonizingly close this year in Sochi. DraftKings has offered odds of +6500 for both, meaning Leclerc and Norris have less than a 2% chance of winning.
Norris took to Twitter on Thursday to confirm that he’s ready for the tough weekend ahead:
Both Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly have demonstrated that they have what it takes to reach the podium. Ever-gleeful Australian Ricciardo secured a top spot finish in Monza this year and has plenty of other wins to his name. Meanwhile, Alpha Tauri racer Gasly won for the first time last year and earned a superb podium finish in the first race of 2021. Both racers are priced at +8000 with BetMGM.
Meanwhile, Finnish racer Kimi Raikkonen is now a household name in the world of F1. The 42-year-old Alfa Romeo driver announced his retirement earlier this year, and as such, Abu Dhabi will represent his last race in an F1 car. With one World Championship and 21 wins to his name, Raikkonen definitely knows his way around a racetrack, and Sunday could provide the perfect opportunity for him to go out on top. He’s a long outside shot, but may be worth a punt at +20000 with FanDuel.