With pre-season testing now concluded, our F1 scribe takes a look at who he thinks is worth backing in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ outright markets.
Petrolheads around the globe will soon be in raptures as there’s less than a fortnight left until the start of the 2019 season.
This season should be an absolute cracker with a number of driver changes and Ferrari putting in some blistering lap times during preseason testing. The Prancing Stags really looked good out in Catalunya and after two years of false dawns, this may just be the year that Mercedes dominance comes to an end.
*Click here for our piece on driver changes, rule changes and the 2019 schedule
Pre-season Testing Summary
It certainly was a good off-season for Ferrari, who have got their car running “half a second” quicker than Mercedes according to Lewis Hamilton. It must be remembered, however, that Ferrari also enjoyed a solid preseason last year but were still unable to wrestle the Drivers’ or Constructors’ championships away from arch-rivals Mercedes.
Speaking of Mercedes, the Silver Arrows had a bit of an underwhelming preseason with their new W10 only really coming to the fore on the final day when a number of adjustments had been made to the car.
Red Bull were arguably the most disappointing of the front-runners during the final few days of preseason testing as star-man Max Verstappen spent most of the day in the pit-lane with gearbox issues.
There were a few surprise packages during the final salvos of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya with Renault and Toro Rosso setting some solid times.
To Win Outright
Red Bull 6/1
Racing Point (Force India) 300/1
Alfa Romeo (Sauber) 300/1
Toro Rosso 500/1
The Constructors’ Championship is likely to be a straight shootout between defending champions Mercedes and arch-rivals Ferrari. The former took the title by 84 points last term, with Lewis Hamilton’s late run of victories seeing his team claim the honours.
2018 was the second season in a row where Hamilton’s late-season form bailed his side out. And Ferrari set to be more competitive this year, Mercedes will need to get more out of their number two driver, Valterri Bottas, who only managed seven podium finishes on his way to finishing the season in fifth place.
Ferrari, on the other hand, will need their main man Sebastian Vettel to deliver on a consistent basis this year of the Prancing Stag are to claim the Constructors’ Championship. The German Ace was in fine form during the early parts of last season but only managed to win one of the final nine races. This was rather disappointing as his former teammate Kimi Raikkonen delivered podium finishes on a consistent basis last season.
To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton 12/10
Sebastian Vettel 7/4
Charles LeClerc 9/2
Max Verstappen 9/1
Valtteri Bottas 25/1
Pierre Gasly 50/1
Daniel Ricciardo 80/1
Bar and Better 150/1
Again, this one is likely to be a straight shootout between veteran drivers Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. The ‘Brit finished 88 points above the German last year with the late-season swing in fortunes the biggest role player – Hamilton won six of the last eight 2018 Grand Prix while Vettel could only muster up four podium finishes in the same time period.
What is rather interesting is that Ferrari’s number 2 driver, offseason recruit Charles LeClerc, is the third favourite to claim the title at 9/2 while Mercedes number 2, Valtteri Bottas, is fifth and currently trading at 25/1.
Constructors’ Verdict: Ferrari @ 27/20
The Prancing Stag are likely to dominate the early season running, and if new boy Charles LeClerc can rack up a similar number of podium finishes to his predecessor Kimi Raikkonen, then we may just have a new Constructors’ Champion this year.
Drivers’ Verdict: Lewis Hamilton @ 12/10
The ‘Brit, as annoying as it is, just knows how to win a Drivers’ Championship. While he’s likely to endure a sluggish start, his late season for should see him to his sixth World title.
Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets