Formula 1: Top Max Verstappen threat identified for 2024

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by James Gasperotti/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by James Gasperotti/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images) /

Max Verstappen is the favorite to win the 2024 Formula 1 world championship. But who is the driver most likely to end his run?

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wrapped up the most dominant season in Formula 1 history with a seventh straight win and 17th win in 18 races, extending his all-time single-season record to 19 victories in the 22-race 2023 season.

Unsurprisingly, the three-time reigning world champion is the betting favorite to win a fourth straight title in 2024.

The most recent world champion other than Verstappen is Lewis Hamilton, who also won four in a row before Verstappen won his first, and Red Bull’s other world champion, Sebastian Vettel, also won four in row.

DraftKings Sportsbook, which is issuing an instant $150 bonus to fans who bet $5, lists Verstappen at -370 odds (bet $370 to win $100) to win the 2024 Formula 1 world championship.

Who has the best chance of ending Max Verstappen’s run atop Formula 1 in 2024?

McLaren’s Lando Norris is listed as the second favorite to win the title. Here is a list of the top 10.

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull: -370
  2. Lando Norris, McLaren: +750
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: +850
  4. Oscar Piastri, McLaren: +1800
  5. George Russell, Mercedes: +2200
  6. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari: +2500
  7. Sergio Perez, Red Bull: +2800
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari: +2800
  9. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin: +3500
  10. Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri: +8000

After McLaren instituted a set of upgrades on Norris’ car ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix in early July, he went on to score the second most points behind Verstappen throughout the remainder of the season, even ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

McLaren had an extremely rough start to the 2023 season, but they were able to emerge as the most consistent threat to Red Bull down the stretch after applying the upgrades to the cars of both Norris and Oscar Piastri ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Had the season been a few races longer, the Woking-based team probably would have finished in second place in the constructor standings, and Norris most assuredly would have finished in third in the driver standings behind the Red Bull duo.

Norris has long been viewed as a potential world champion if given a competitive car, much like Verstappen was before his stretch of title-winning and constant record-breaking began.

But at the same time, is a driver who has never stood atop the podium really Formula 1’s best hope of dethroning a three-time reigning world champion and 54-time race winner?

While you can’t knock Norris for not yet winning a race, Verstappen had five consecutive winning seasons before ever emerging as a true title threat, and his first 20 victories came in seasons when Red Bull did not win the constructor championship.

It’s one thing to beat — or come close to beating — Verstappen in a qualifying session or even in a race, especially amid the current era of Red Bull dominance. But doing it over the course of an entire season is an entirely different proposition.

Who else is old enough to remember when Perez was dubbed the “favorite” to win the 2023 title because of a strong start to the season? Verstappen then went on a record-breaking 10-race winning streak, and during his run of 17 wins in 18 races, Perez didn’t manage to win once.

Verstappen finished just six spots away — total — from a perfect season. Perez, in the same car, ended up with four individual race finishes of more than six spots away from the podium.

Can Norris perform at that level over a period of more than nine months?

dark. Next. All-time Formula 1 wins list

The 2024 Formula 1 season, which is set to feature a record-breaking total of 24 races, is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, March 2 with the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit.