F1 Austrian Grand Prix Preview: Can Lewis Hamilton close in on history with a win?
Odds for this weekend’s F1 season opener
Almost four months later than planned, the Formula 1 season gets started in Austria this weekend.
It’ll look very different to any previous F1 race – it’s going to take place behind closed doors, with teams operating with reduced numbers. But once the lights go out, expect all the usual thrills and drama on the track.
Before it all gets started, we’ve looked at the odds ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix…
How will Lewis Hamilton kick-off his title defence?
After spending the break doing impressive work towards improving the sport’s diversity, Lewis Hamilton will have his sights set on history this season.
He’s only eight wins away from beating Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 F1 victories. He’ll also equal the German’s tally of seven titles if he triumphs for a fourth successive year.
Hamilton is 9/5 favourite to take first place, but he’s found it tough going in Austria in recent years. His only win in this race came in 2016. The Brit hasn’t finished on the podium here since then.
He’ll be hoping Mercedes’ new car helps him get the chequered flag this time around.
Will the delayed start favour Max Verstappen?
If anyone is going to be pleased that the F1 season begins with two races at the Red Bull Ring, it’ll be Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
He won here in 2018 and 2019 and will be looking to complete the hat-trick. Our traders have Verstappen as 19/10 second-favourite to win the curtain-raiser.
Could this be the year when he makes a step up? The Belgian is a serious talent, and he could use these two races to build some real momentum. The third race is then in Hungary, where he was fastest in qualifying and finished second last year.
There’s been talk of Verstappen potentially becoming the youngest world champion this season. He’s 4/1 to do just that.
Who else could challenge?
Verstappen isn’t the only driver to keep an eye on this season. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas could be one of the main contenders for the title – Bottas is 5/1 to win on Sunday.
Charles Leclerc will also be looking to lay a marker down. He’s 11/2 to take first. If the Ferrari driver can cut out the mistakes, he could take his driving to the next level.
Leclerc’s teammate Sebastian Vettel still has the quality to deliver at 15/2. Now that Vettel is coming to the end of his time at Ferrari, the Prancing Horse will hope that he and Leclerc can be more amicable in their final months as teammates.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication