Hamilton leads Verstappen as bookmakers’ favourite; F1 gears up for Bahrain opener

The 2022 Formula 1 season kicks off in Bahrain this weekend, with seven-time champion Sir Lewis Hamilton the bookmakers favorite to reclaim the title from Max Verstappen.

The industry is gearing up for an exciting season which should see greater engagement from punters. While Formula 1 is even further down operators’ list of most popular sports, the excitement of last season, along with the betting industry’s increased involvement in sports, means bookmakers can accommodate another source of income as the football season draws to a close. – and after Cheltenham.

Hamilton, who was controversially beaten in the final race of last season, has vowed to come back stronger than ever and win a record eighth Drivers’ Championship.

Whether because of this bitter disappointment, or in spite of it, the sports betting operators placed Hamilton as the favorite to win the title; although world champion Verstappen is tipped to win the first race of the season in Bahrain.

Sky Bet have odds of 13/8 for Hamilton to win. Meanwhile, Verstappen is second seed at 7/4, while 24-year-old George Russell is third seed at 13/2. Former world champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are rated at 66/1 and 125/1 respectively.

The 2022 season, which was originally scheduled to include 23 races and run from March 20 to November 20, will feature a number of venue changes this time around.

Grands Prix in Australia, Canada, Japan and Singapore are all returning to the calendar, following pandemic-related absences, while Miami will host its first-ever F1 race. The Russian Grand Prix, originally scheduled for September 25, has now been cancelled.

Interestingly, despite Hamilton’s place as the bookmakers’ favorite to win the overall prize, Verstappen is considered the most likely to win the opening race in Bahrain.

Verstappen has odds of 4/7 on Sky Bet, while Hamilton is at 5/4. This may have been influenced by the first pre-season testing session, which took place on March 16.

During the session, the Red Bull car, with which Verstappen won the championship last season, came out on top.

Meanwhile, Mercedes, which is driven by Hamilton and Russell, finished third.

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