Tue, Nov 29, 2:19pm by Senior Writer
Lewis Hamilton may have failed to complete a hat-trick of Formula 1 world titles, but he is $2.63 favourite to avenge this year’s defeat in the 2017 title race.
The engines have barely cooled down for 2016, with Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Rosberg claiming a first F1 drivers’ title thanks to his second place at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, but punters can already bet on what is expected to be a much more open 2017 season.
Mercedes completely dominated 2016, with 19 wins from 21 races, with Red Bull the only other team to claim a victory with one each to Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
However, a change in technical regulations is expected to see Red Bull bridge the gap and as a result, the prolifically talented Verstappen, who doesn’t turn 20 until September next year, is second favourite to become the youngest driver ever to win a world title.
The young Dutchman finished fifth in the world title race in 2016, but spent the first four races racing with Toro Rosso before switching to Red Bull.
Ricciardo is $4.33 to become the first Aussie world champion since Allan Jones in 1980, having finished a clear third this year in an impressive performance in an inferior car to the Mercedes.
As a tribute to his consistency, he was the only driver on the grid to finish every lap of every race.
A Ferrari revival in 2017 is seen as unlikely with Sebastian Vettel a $13 chance and Kimi Raikkonen $34. It has been ten years since a Ferrari driver, Raikkonen, won a championship.
An improved season from McLaren is expected, however, and Fernando Alonso, whose two world title wins in 2005-06 seem an eon ago, is $21 to claim a third world title next year.
With Jenson Button’s retirement, he has a new teammate in Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, who is $41 to capture the title in his first year.
The remaining drivers are all $126 or longer.
The 2017 Formula 1 season starts on March 26 at Albert Park in Melbourne. There are currently 21 races on the calendar, but that could be subject to change.
2017 Formula 1 title – Sportsbet
L Hamilton $2.63
M Verstappen $4.00
N Rosberg $4.33
D Ricciardo $4.50
S Vettel $13.00
F Alonso $21.00
K Raikkonen $34.00
S Vandoorme $41.00
N Hulkenberg $126.00
V Bottas $251.00
K Magnussen $251.00
S Perez $301.00
R Grosjean $301.00
C Sainz Jr $501.00
M Ericsson $501.00
J Palmer $501.00
D Kvyat $501.00
L Stroll $501.00
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