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Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix betting: Lewis Hamilton is a big favorite over Max Verstappen

·3 min read
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  • Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton
    British racing driver
  • Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen
    Dutch-Belgian racing driver

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen enter Sunday’s race at Abu Dhabi tied in the points standings. But the estimated race for the title isn’t that close, according to oddsmakers.

Hamilton enters the season finale (8 a.m. ET, ESPN2) at -185 to win the race while Verstappen is +175. The Abu Dhabi track has been the site of the F1 season finale since it debuted on the schedule in 2009. But it’s also now different ahead of 2021 with a change in corners. Two corners have been modified to help facilitate passing.

Could that help Mercedes? Maybe. And Mercedes doesn’t need much help at the track. Verstappen won at Abu Dhabi in 2020 to break a six-race Mercedes win streak. Hamilton has four of those victories and won in 2018 and 2019.

Hamilton has won the last three F1 races after Verstappen took wins in Austin and Mexico City. The win in Mexico City put Verstappen 19 points up on Hamilton.

Hamilton has made up all of those points, thanks to a fresh power unit that was put in his car ahead of Brazil. His Mercedes has been absurdly fast in a straight line — something that was evident at Saudi Arabia when he was able to keep pace with Verstappen after the two collided amid their incredible battle a week ago.

Had Verstappen kept Hamilton at bay in Saudi Arabia — a task that proved impossible late in the race as Verstappen’s car lost grip on the medium tires — he would have entered the finale able to finish fifth at Abu Dhabi to clinch the title. Instead, he has to finish ahead of Hamilton.

The title implications on Sunday are simple. Whoever finishes first between Hamilton and Verstappen wins the title if they both finish ninth or better. If they finish ninth and 10th, they could still tie in the standings if the driver in 10th gets the fastest lap of the race. And if they finish tied in the standings via that scenario or by both finishing out of the top 10 entirely, Verstappen wins the title because he has more wins in 2021.

Sunday’s race is the first time drivers have entered the final race of the season tied atop the standings since 1974. If Hamilton wins the title, he’ll have eight F1 championships and cement himself as the best Formula 1 driver of all time. If Verstappen wins, he’ll have proved himself a worthy foil to Hamilton and a driver with the potential to cement himself as one of the greats.

Here are a few bets you should consider ahead of the race. All odds are via BetMGM.

Lewis Hamilton to finish top 3 (-400)

Start your weekend off with a bet that will be a stunner if it doesn’t cash.

Max Verstappen to finish top 3 (-300)

The same goes with this bet. It’ll be a shock if Hamilton and Verstappen don’t finish 1-2 in some order.

Lewis Hamilton to win FP1 (+150)

Hamilton could and should have the pace to be faster than his teammate Valtteri Bottas (+250), though Red Bull may have Verstappen’s car cranked up to send a message straight away.

Qualifying margin within 0.100-0.250 seconds (+175)

Mercedes’ straight-line speed should be an advantage here. If Verstappen gets the pole, we’re thinking the margin will be smaller than a tenth of a second.

Lewis Hamilton to post the race’s fastest lap (+160)

Verstappen is at +275 to get the fastest lap. It’s not worth betting anyone other than Hamilton or Verstappen to get the fastest lap unless you think someone will make a late pit stop to try to steal a point for a spot in the standings.