Defending champion Lewis Hamilton is the red-hot favourite to win a fifth world title – the Mercedes driver is currently priced at 3/5 in 888sport’s Formula One betting markets. Next best is Sebastian Vettel at 4/1 and plenty of punters will be tempted by that price.
Ferrari’s decision to keep Kimi Raikkonen raised a few eyebrows but Vettel’s spot as the number one driver on the team is secure. Raikkonen will be playing second fiddle once again this year.
Looking away from these two teams - with the possible exception of Red Bull Racing - would be foolish. These three teams are going to be battling it out once again...
Constructors Title – A Cakewalk For Mercedes?
Unsurprisingly, Mercedes are as short as 2/5 to retain the Constructors Championship this season. In Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, they have two of the best drivers in the sport and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the two teammates battling it out at the top.
Mercedes have won the constructors title in each of the last four years and a fifth successive crown beckons barring a major setback.
Is there much point backing Red Bull Racing (7/2) or Ferrari (4/1)? Not really. Red Bull have the quality in Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen but there are still doubts over the car’s reliability.
Meanwhile, Ferrari have put all of their eggs in one basket by keeping Raikkonen – they are going all out for a first drivers title since 2007.
Value In Backing Vettel?
There is plenty of value out there if you buy into the Ferrari hype. At the time of writing, you can back Vettel at 17/20 to win five or more races this campaign – a decent price.
The four-time world champion won five races in 2017 and an improved, consistent motor could give him the edge this time around. Should Mercedes struggle with engine issues, Vettel may be the main beneficiary and that is well worth taking into account.
By the same token, Verstappen is 11/10 to win four or more races in 2018. Plenty of pundits are expecting a closer battle for the title this season and this talented youngster, labelled as a future world champion, could flourish.
Melbourne Momentum Is Important
Winning the opening race of the season is always nice. Gaining an early advantage on your title rivals can be huge for confidence and Hamilton will be hoping for a perfect start to the 2018 campaign here.
Currently EVS to win in Melbourne this weekend, the Brit is short in the market but it is difficult to look past the Mercedes man. Vettel, winner of this race last season, is available at 3/1 whilst Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen is a 5/1 shot.
Hamilton Must Be Respected
Vettel is the value bet but Hamilton is a deserving favourite ahead of the 2018 season. He has been a dominant figure since joining Mercedes and he will take some stopping in his pursuit of a fifth world championship.
Hamilton is EVS to win nine or more races this year and another Mercedes masterclass could be on the cards. Ferrari and Red Bull may close the gap but it looks like they may fall short once again.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*