Formula 1: Two new favorites emerge before Singapore race

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Formula 1 (Photo by Edmund So/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Formula 1 (Photo by Edmund So/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Riding a 10-race Formula 1 winning streak, Max Verstappen is taking on a rare role as an underdog heading into Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.

For the first time since the Miami Grand Prix back in early May, two-time reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen is not the betting favorite to win a Grand Prix.

While he opened the Singapore Grand Prix weekend as an overwhelming -400 favorite, as he usually does these days, the driver riding a record-breaking 10-race winning streak had a disastrous qualifying effort and failed to get out of Q2, relegating to an 11th place starting position at Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Typically when Verstappen starts deep in the field, he is still listed as the favorite, and he usually rallies to win, as we have seen multiple times in the last two seasons alone. Although he wasn’t the favorite after qualifying in ninth place, the Miami race was a perfect example.

But the 19-turn, 3.07-mile (4.941-kilometer) temporary street circuit in Marina Bay, Singapore has historically been one of the Red Bull driver’s worst tracks, and it is also a circuit on which overtaking can be quite difficult. Even amid a record-breaking 15-win season last year, he started in eighth place and finished in seventh, two laps off the lead.

As a result, there are two new favorites to win Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Singapore.

And by new, we do mean new: two drivers who have never before been outright favorites to win a Formula 1 race.

Theoretically, they still haven’t, since they are both listed at +195 at FanDuel Sportsbook, which is currently offering Formula 1 fans an instant $200 just for placing any $5 bet. But we’ll let that slide.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took his second consecutive pole position, and Mercedes’ George Russell is set to start beside him on the front row. Both drivers own one career victory, which they earned last season, and are aiming to double that on Sunday.

And more importantly, the two co-favorites have a five-row buffer to the driver everybody has been chasing for the last four and a half months.

The last time Verstappen did not win a race was in late April, when teammate Sergio Perez, who only managed to qualify 13th for Sunday’s race himself, held him off to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Verstappen has won 12 of 14 races this season, and his only other two finishes are runner-up results. Is he capable of at least picking up a podium finish to continue his pursuit of Michael Schumacher’s “perfect” 2002 season?

Verstappen is still listed as the third favorite to win Sunday’s race at +440. While these are his longest odds since last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, when he was listed at +900, started in 10th place, and still won, they demonstrate that nobody is willing to count him out, even for as much of a handful as the RB19 has been this weekend.

He has won from deeper than 11th place in the field before, but never 11th. His odds for a podium finish are +175, as long as they’ve been in over a year.

Next. All-time Formula 1 wins list. dark

The Singapore Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on ESPN from Marina Bay Street Circuit beginning at 7:55 a.m. ET on Sunday, September 17. If you have not yet begun a free trial of FuboTV, do so now and don’t miss it!