Two weeks remain in the 2021 Formula One World Championship season, as the world’s best F1 drivers head to Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday for the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
For a good portion of the season, it seemed like Max Verstappen would run away with the crown and dethrone Lewis Hamilton. But as the season slowly comes to a close, it’s fair to start questioning whether our judgment was correct.
Hamilton looked unstoppable in Brazil and Qatar and is now eight points behind the Red Bull driver in the Championship standings. And while it’s fair to feel hopeful about Verstappen’s chances to keep the distance, the F1 betting odds for this weekend suggest otherwise.
With Hamilton priced as a -200 favorite and Verstappen at +225, it’s evident that the Brit is in an excellent spot to win his eighth race of the season. But have the bookies assessed the situation correctly?
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Betting Analysis
Complete Dominance in Qatar
Whether you like Hamilton, you can’t deny that he was by far the best driver in Qatar, where he won the qualifier and never looked back. Something clicked for the Brit, and while it’s hard to pinpoint when that happened, it’s clear that he is driving with far more confidence, which shows in his results.
Hamilton won the Qatar Grand Prix with over 25 seconds to spare, well ahead of Verstappen and Fernando Alonso, who shocked the F1 community with a third-place finish.
“I don’t remember another weekend like this. It’s quite overwhelming, to be honest,” Hamilton said after the race.
“This has been probably one of the best weekends, if not the best weekend, that I have experienced.”
Admittedly, Hamilton has been incredible, but he still needs to win both of the upcoming races. So while the form is there, the actual test of mental fortitude and the ability to keep a cool head begins on Saturday, in sunny Jeddah.
Hamilton Is Not In The Clear (Yet)
Hamilton only needs to keep doing what he has been for the last month to collect his eighth World Championship title, which may be easier said than done. While Hamilton has found himself in a position where there’s no room for error, he has proven time and time again that he thrives when pushed to his limits. What’s more, his dominant victory in Qatar proves that Hamilton can do well on unknown tracks, which should come in handy next week.
New Track and New Challenges
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is a newly built track and we must comment that it’s quite a unique one. And while we don’t know much about it and how will it suit the drivers, we can safely assume that the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is made for speed.
The overall track layout is all about the straights, and while it has 27 corners, most allow the drivers to pass them at high speeds. Turn 27 is perhaps the slowest, but following it is a long straight that passes through the finish line.
On paper, the track should suit Mercedes and Hamilton, who has the engine to outperform Verstappen on straights. That was already evident in Qatar, where Hamilton took full advantage of the high-speed corners to build his lead and finish ahead of his rival.
Admittedly, Verstappen is a world-class driver, and you should never doubt his ability to win any race on the calendar. But even Red Bull fans can agree that the Jeddah Corniche Circuit’s layout won’t suit their hero, who has struggled on high-speed racecourses before.
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Prediction
Hamilton is in great form, has a fast engine, and is set to race on the track that seems like it has been made to bring out the best of the Mercedes cars, so we wouldn’t blame anyone who wishes to bet now on the reigning F1 champion. Admittedly, the odds offered on the Brit to win aren’t great, but they are fair.
Unless something goes terribly wrong for Hamilton, he should win this race. Verstappen should still claim a podium finish, but he simply doesn’t have the engine to keep up.
Hamilton is priced at -200 to win the race; however, the online betting sites have him as +110 to lock in the fastest qualifier and win the race. The latter option is a bit riskier, but the higher odds make it worth it.