In shock news, Sebastian Vettel has announced he is leaving the sport at the end of the year. His race seat at Aston Martin will be taken by Fernando Alonso. That has left a vacancy at Alpine, one the team announced would be taken by Oscar Piastri.
However, the new face quickly dropped a statement stating he would not be racing for the French team in 2023. Instead, he is expected to replace fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren.
Where does that leave Ricciardo? Out of the sport, taking Nicholas Latifi’s seat in a slow Williams, or returning to Alpine – a team that was called Renault F1 when he raced for them in 2019 and 2020? The traditional midsummer Formula 1 game of rumour and musical chairs is well underway.
Betting Without Max Makes Sense
Sadly, the destination of the World Drivers’ Championship title is far less uncertain. Max Verstappen is 1/12 to take his second title. 80 points clear of Charles Leclerc with just nine races left on the 2022 calendar, his price is fully justified.
Bookmakers and the best Formula 1 betting sites like Betfair, bet365 and William Hill – have resorted to opening a ‘without Max Verstappen’ betting market and it does offer the prospect of some excitement. It sees Charles Leclerc trading as 4/7, Lewis Hamilton at 5/1, and Sergio Perez 13/2.
We really like Perez. The Mexican is just five points adrift of Leclerc, trailing by 178 to 173. Hamilton is much further adrift with 146 points. While Lewis Hamilton has enjoyed a good run of podium finishes and his Mercedes is improving, it is still a long way short of the raw speed of the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
Perez’ Bull Can Roar More
But why is Perez the better bet? Firstly, Leclerc is simply too short. More importantly, the bulk of the nine races that will complete the current season will be staged on tracks that suit the 2022 Red Bull more than Leclerc’s Ferrari.
Belgium, Japan, Italy, the Circuit of the Americas, and even Brazil’s Sao Paulo circuit with its long flat-out section could all see the Red Bull produce dominant displays.
And then there is reliability – something that blighted Ferrari throughout the year. Added to that, Leclerc appears to be lacking confidence following unforced errors. Finally, the Italian team has made some horrendous strategy calls, and these are simply not stopping.
Throwing all those facts into the blender, surely the betting in this ‘best of the rest’ market should see Perez and Leclerc both trading at 11/8 and then 4/1 bar.
* Odds are subject to changes