After 21 races of high-octane action on the F1 calendar this season, absolutely nothing separates Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Both drivers have 369.5 points with just one race remaining. While Mercedes has all but claimed the constructors title, who will prevail in the final race of the season? Odds Shark breaks down the F1 odds for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
According to the F1 odds at Sportsbook, Hamilton is the heavy favorite (-180) to win the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, followed by Verstappen (+180), Valtteri Bottas (+1400) and Sergio Perez (+2800).
Want a reliable betting guide on F1 betting? Take a look at Odds Shark’s dedicated F1 page.
Odds as of December 9 at Sportsbook
Arguably the race of the season. Arguably the best race of the last few seasons. Three standing starts, two red flags, one rapid circuit at Jeddah. That was a recipe for disaster as four drivers were spun out in the first half of the race.
However, the second half of the race was thrilling, with virtual safety cars and some naughty driving from Verstappen. While trying to give up his place to Hamilton on the instructions of his team, he veered to his left, forcing Hamilton to crash into his back.
Eventually, Hamilton had too much pace even with a slightly damaged left front wing, leveling up the drivers standings. Bottas drove masterfully as well to pick up P3 at the last possible instance.
Hamilton Or Verstappen?
This stunning season now comes down to whether Hamilton can pick up just one more point than Verstappen. Is that likely? Based on the last few results, yes, definitely. And here’s why.
Since Brazil, Hamilton has been on a mission to use the extra power in his engine. Along with Mercedes’ straight-line speed, Hamilton is a compelling favorite, even at F1 odds of -180. He is one of the most experienced drivers in the current grid, which has certainly played its part in the last few races.
“I’ve raced a lot of drivers through my life in the 28 years,” Hamilton said. “I’ve come across a lot of different characters and there’s a few at the top which are over the limit. Rules kind of don’t apply or they don’t think of the rules. Max is over the limit for sure. I’ve avoided collisions on so many occasions with the guy, and I don’t always mind being the one that does that, because you live to fight another day, which I obviously did.”
Verstappen has done commendable damage limitation in the last few races, including Brazil, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Finishing on the podium has ensured that he has not let Hamilton out of his sights even with the power of that Mercedes engine.
He was a bit sore as Hamilton played his tricks in Saudi Arabia, complaining about Hamilton’s slow pace in the lead-up to the standing start which meant cooler temperatures in Verstappen’s tires. There is an experience mismatch in that battle with Hamilton.
Still, he has had a fantastic season and has been an admirable competitor, regardless of how Abu Dhabi pans out.
“I find it interesting that I am the one who gets a penalty when both of us ran out of the white lines,” Verstappen said of his penalty. “In Brazil it was fine but suddenly I get a penalty for it; you could see both of us didn’t make the corner. But it’s fine, I also don’t really spend too much time on it. We have to move forward. We are equal on points now, and I think that’s really exciting of course for the whole championship and Formula 1 in general.”
Left-Field F1 Betting Predictions For The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Valtteri Bottas (+1400) drove beautifully in Saudi Arabia, making late moves on both Daniel Ricciardo and then Esteban Ocon to pick up some vital points for Mercedes. Still, he will be used to swap spots with Hamilton if it comes down to that. This will also be his last race in Mercedes as he moves to Alfa Romeo next year.
Sergio Perez (+2800) will be asked to do the same should he be ahead of Verstappen. With the strength of both these constructors, it does seem unlikely that any other driver will even be in contention with so much at stake in the last race of the season.
Ferrari and McLaren have both not shown enough dynamism to fight with the top two, and their fight isn’t exactly with Mercedes or Red Bull. As a result, I would stay away from left-field options in the last race of the season.
History Of The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Work on the Yas Marina Circuit began in 2007 before it was eventually completed in 2009, in time for its F1 debut that year. Like this year, it was also the season finale in 2009.
The Yas Marina circuit almost has a geometric shape to its design. There is one long straight – about 1.2 kilometers long – between turns 5 and 6, which will aid overtaking. In total, this race will go for 306.183 kilometers, split up into 58 laps, each comprising about 5.28 kilometers.
There are 16 turns, with two DRS detection zones: the first between turns 4 and 5 and the second between turns 7 and 8. Considering the strength along the straights in the last few races, this could well be a race for Mercedes again, based on these technical factors.
There is no chance of rain at all so expect a dry, humid race followed by weary, fatigued drivers at the checkered flag.
Betting Strategy For The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Let’s look at this in two ways. One is based on technical factors, precedence and crucial factors on paper. All of these factors point to Hamilton because of his straight-line speed, his experience and the momentum he has carried into Abu Dhabi.
The second way to look at betting strategy is the likelihood of Hamilton not winning this race. Considering the nature of this sport, its fine margins and Verstappen’s aggression, the script is there to be written. That results in a likelihood that is not insignificant that Hamilton does not win.
I would prefer to always bet with the first strategy – pick the candidate that makes the most sense on paper and then let sports do its thing. As a result, Hamilton would be my bet for Abu Dhabi.
P.S.: This will be Kimi Raikkonen’s last race in an F1 car. Au revoir to a legend of the sport.