Lewis Hamilton will begin his pursuit of a seventh career Formula 1 drivers championship when he returns to the track for the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday as a narrow +150 betting favourite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Hamilton is coming off a spectacular campaign in 2019, claiming victory in 11 of 21 races and racking up a record 413 points. The Mercedes driver is now poised to equal the legendary Michael Schumacher’s record for most career F1 titles, but must first overcome a recent shaky track record at Red Bull Ring, the site of Sunday’s 2020 Austrian Grand Prix.
The 35-year-old Englishman took home the checkered flag in Austria in 2016, but has failed to reach the podium in three appearances since then, capped by a disappointing fifth-place run a year ago. However, Hamilton looked to be in mid-season form during Friday’s practice runs, leading the way in each of the two sessions, just ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
While the Austrian Grand Prix odds favour Hamilton, Max Verstappen remains the driver to beat after claiming victory at this race in each of the past two years. Pegged as a +200 second favourite for Sunday’s race, Verstappen is coming off a breakthrough campaign in 2019. The 23-year-old was among the most consistent drivers on the F1 circuit last season, finishing among the top five on 17 occasions, including a trio of victories.
Strong qualifying has played a role in Verstappen’s success in Austria, where he started from the front two rows of the grid in each of his recent wins. And while he lagged behind Hamilton in Friday’s practice sessions, his third-place performance in Practice 1 bodes well for Verstappen in Saturday’s qualifying run.
Further down the F1 odds at betting sites, Charles Leclerc sits third at +425, ahead of Bottas at +600, and four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel at +650. Leclerc made steady gains in his first season driving for Ferrari despite facing a rash of early-season technical problems. The 22-year-old Monte Carlo native earned the first two wins of his F1 career on his way to a fourth-place finish in the driver standings.
Bottas is coming off a career year in his third season with Mercedes. The 30-year-old Finn took home second place on the strength of four victories, but will likely spend 2020 once again driving in the huge shadow cast by Hamilton.
Further down the Austrian Grand Prix odds, Montreal’s Lance Stroll lags at +10000, while fellow Montrealer Nicholas Latifi makes his Formula 1 debut as a +200000 longshot.