Formula 1: Max Verstappen looking to avoid falling victim to strange trend

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The Formula 1 world championship preseason favorite has not won either one of the last two titles. Will Max Verstappen change that trend in 2023?

After winning a record 15 races during the 2022 Formula 1 season, two-time reigning world champion Max Verstappen is unsurprisingly the favorite to win a third consecutive title in 2023.

The Red Bull driver has won 25 of the 44 races that have been contested since the start of the 2021 season, yet interestingly enough, he was not the preseason favorite to win the title in 2021 or 2022.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who was coming off of a fourth consecutive world title, entered the 2021 season as the favorite, seeking to claim what would have been a record eighth title. It came down to the final lap of the season’s final race, but it was Verstappen who prevailed.

Then in 2022, when not many knew exactly what to exact with the new rules and regulations, Hamilton was again the preseason favorite, even though some believed he may not return to the sport after the manner in which he was denied a fifth straight title the season prior.

Can Verstappen become the first favorite to win a world title since Hamilton won his record-tying seventh in 2020?

Here are the full odds to win the 2023 Formula 1 world championship, provided by WynnBET.

NOTE: -115 means a successful $115 bet wins $100 ($215 payout). +300 means a successful $100 bet wins $300 ($400 payout).

  • Max Verstappen, Red Bull: -115
  • Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: +300
  • Charles Leclerc, Ferrari: +600
  • George Russell, Mercedes: +700
  • Sergio Perez, Red Bull: +2000
  • Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari: +2000
  • Lando Norris, McLaren: +7500
  • Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin: +10000
  • Esteban Ocon, Alpine: +10000
  • Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo: +15000
  • Pierre Gasly, Alpine: +15000
  • Nico Hulkenberg, Haas: +15000
  • Kevin Magnussen, Haas: +15000
  • Oscar Piastri, McLaren: +15000
  • Lance Stroll, Aston Martin: +15000
  • Alexander Albon, Williams: +20000
  • Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri: +20000
  • Logan Sargeant, Williams: +20000
  • Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri: +20000
  • Guanyu Zhou, Alpha Romeo: +20000

Interestingly, there are a few other streaks to consider.

The driver who has won the season finale has gone on to win the world title the following season for four straight years, beginning with Hamilton’s 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victory. Verstappen won the 2022 finale in Abu Dhabi. Can he extend this streak to five in 2023?

Then there is the fact that no driver who has won the season opener has gone on to win the title since Nico Rosberg pulled it off in 2016. Hamilton won the 2021 opener in Bahrain before Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won it in 2022, yet Verstappen won the title both seasons.

Can Verstappen, who is listed as the favorite (+150) to win this year’s season opener in Bahrain, end that drought? Hamilton is listed at +350 while Leclerc is listed at +450 and Mercedes’ George Russell is listed at +650. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. are both listed at +850.

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The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to get the 2023 Formula 1 season underway on Sunday, March 5. ESPN is set to broadcast the race live from Bahrain International Circuit beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.