The Formula 1 season roars into life this weekend with the opening Grand Prix of the season taking place in Australia, but the Bookmakers already believe the winners are as good as decided.
Defending champions Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are both odds-on to retain their crowns in 2018, despite many in the pit-lane believing 2018 could be a very close affair, and there could be a three-team battle at the top end.
Mercedes have Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, but they are expected to have real competition, with second favourites for the constructors title being Red Bull – who have impressed in practice with Dutch ace Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Hamilton’s biggest rival looks set to be long-term rival Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari, but the Prancing Horse are not being well back.
“Lewis Hamilton has been trying to calm expectation levels, but nobody is buying it – he is odds-on at 4/6 to land his fifth world title, with Mercedes even shorter to seal a fifth straight Constructors title at 2/5,” said OddsMonkey spokesman Peter Watton.
“Despite the expected rivalry with Ferrari, who were the only team really pushing Mercedes last year, it is actually Red Bull who are second in the betting at 7/2 with the Italian’s rated at 5/1 in places, which seems a big price considering we have not seen the opening race yet.
“Driver wise Hamilton is just about unbackable, and the Bookmakers and public clearly only see one man threatening his dominance and that is Vettel – who is around 7/2 with next best being Verstappen at 6/1.
“So from what we are hearing and seeing in the markets, Mercedes are attracting all the attention but the public are putting money into Red Bull and Verstappen – but this has inevitably led to the value being with Ferrari and Vettel. If you fancy the German and his team to push hard, then these prices will not be around for long.”
Selected F1 odds –
Lewis Hamilton 4/6
Sebastian Vettel 7/2
Max Verstappen 5/1
Valtteri Bottas 10/1
Daniel Ricciardo 12/1
Fernando Alonso 25/1
Red Bull 7/2
Force India 250/1
Toro Rosso 1000/1