Formula 1: 5 drivers who can end Red Bull’s dominance

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, Austrian Grand Prix, Formula 1 (Photo by Josef Bollwein/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, Austrian Grand Prix, Formula 1 (Photo by Josef Bollwein/SEPA.Media /Getty Images) /

Red Bull have won all eight races to start the 2023 Formula 1 season, with Max Verstappen winning six on his own. Who can stop them at the Red Bull Ring?

The last time a Formula 1 season began with a single team winning each of the first eight races was in 2019, when Mercedes pulled it off.

But race number nine was the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, and that streak was brought to a screeching halt, preventing Mercedes from becoming the first team since McLaren in 1988 to win a season’s first nine races.

Skip ahead to 2023, and Red Bull have gone eight for eight to start the season, with two-time reigning world champion Max Verstappen having won six of those eight races, including each of the most recent four.

Sergio Perez has won the other two, but he has struggled as of late, having not scored a podium finish in any of the three most recent events.

The Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring is, once again, the ninth race on the Formula 1 schedule.

While the 10-turn, 2.683-mile (4.318-kilometer) road course in Spielberg, Styria, Austria is Red Bull’s home track, it is one of the very few tracks at which they did not manage to win en route to securing the constructor championship last year.

With Perez struggling, and with Verstappen probably, at some point, going to find himself in a position other than P1 (though it’s anybody’s guess as to when that might be), this race could be the ideal opportunity for a Red Bull rival to steal a win.

DraftKings Sportsbook, which is offering $150 to Formula 1 fans who sign up and place a single $5 bet, lists Verstappen as the -275 favorite, with Perez listed as the second favorite at +1100.

Here are the next five drivers listed, all of whom have a legitimate chance to end this run.

  • Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin: +1300
  • Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: +1400
  • Charles Leclerc, Ferrari: +1600
  • Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari: +2200
  • George Russell, Mercedes: +2900

Odds and availability subject to change.

While it’s hard to argue that there is value on betting against Red Bull — or specifically Verstappen, at this point — there may actually be some value among these five drivers.

In the most recent race in Montreal, Alonso and Hamilton both finished closer to Verstappen than any non-Red Bull driver had finished to P1 this season, save for the safety car finish in Melbourne.

While the RB19 is still clearly the class of the field, the gap between them and Mercedes and Aston Martin is as narrow as it has been since the start of the year.

Additionally, Alonso and Hamilton have both been performing at a higher level than Perez, which inherently creates some value at +1300 and +1400, respectively.

As for Russell, he has not been nearly as strong this year as he was last year, when he became the first non-championship-winning Hamilton teammate to beat Hamilton in the standings since 2011. At +2900, he probably isn’t worth the gamble.

But the Ferrari duo could be. Last year, the Red Bull Ring was a Ferrari track. A few more laps in the sprint race, and Leclerc would have been on the pole for the Austrian Grand Prix. The pair were on target for a 1-2 finish in the main event before Sainz’s engine expired. Leclerc did manage to hold off Verstappen, even after a late throttle issue emerged.

Leclerc being the reigning race winner makes his +1600 odds worth a second look, and the fact that Sainz would have won the race without his engine issue (given Leclerc’s throttle issue) makes his +2200 worthy of the same. While he generally flies under the radar, Sainz has beaten Leclerc five times in eight races this year.

Next. All-time Formula 1 wins list. dark

The Austrian Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on ESPN from the Red Bull Ring beginning at 8:55 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 2, with the second sprint race of the year set to be broadcast live on the same network beginning at 10:25 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 1. If you have not yet begun your free trial of FuboTV, do so now and don’t miss any of the action!