The new Formula 1 season is just over two weeks away, kicking off in Bahrain on March 6.
From reigning champion Max Verstappen to the seven-time winner Lewis Hamilton and everyone in between, BetDeluxe looks at those vying for the Drivers’ Championship in 2023.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
Can anyone beat the young bull? The back-to-back reigning champion enters the new season as a raging hot favourite with BetDeluxe at $1.80. And for a good reason too.
The Dutchman claimed a record-breaking 15 Grand Prix win in 2022 from 22 races, including a five-race winning streak from July (France) through September (Italy). He was simply unstoppable with 454 points – 146 ahead of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) in the second spot.
Red Bull doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon, with Verstappen’s biggest rival arguably his teammate, Sergio Perez, who won two races last year and has vowed to keep fighting the champion into the new season.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
The biggest question surrounding the seven-time former champion is; will he have a car that will come close to Red Bull? Mercedes seems to think they’ve made serious improvements, and there’s no better driver to test the vehicle than Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton suffered his worst season on the grid in 2022, going through the year without recording one win. The British superstar finished a career-worst sixth in the drivers’ standings and 35 points behind his teammate, George Russell. He snapped his streak of scoring at least one pole and one victory in every season he’s driven in F1.
At $4, the second favourite, the market is on Team Lewis in 2022. If Mercedes have made further improvements on what we saw in the second half of last season and he can first combat his up-and-coming teammate, Hamilton will be back in a big way.
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
2022 was a year of what could’ve been for Ferrari’s young star, Charles Leclerc. After winning two of the first three races in Bahrain and Australia, Leclerc managed just one more victory for the season (Austria) as Max Verstappen and Red Bull took total control of the Constructors, and Scuderia suffered multiple issues.
Leclerc finished the year in second spot in the Drivers’ Championship with 308 points, clearly ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz (246) but 146 points behind the eventual champion.
His three wins were second to only Verstappen, but with a new team boss, Frederic Vasseur, Scuderia insists they have everything they need to compete with Red Bull and Mercedes this season.
George Russell (Mercedes)
The young star of Mercedes would have garnered great experience and knowledge out of his first year with the Silver Arrows, including his maiden victory at Interlagos.
While teammate and seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, failed to record a win for the season, Russell proved too good as he held out Hamilton and Carlos Sainz for his first top-level victory. He finished fourth overall with 272 points in the Drivers’ Championship, edging out Sainz and Hamilton.
There is no doubt Russell is the future of Mercedes, but after the team made rapid improvement through the second half of the year, the pressure to perform will only increase.