By Antony Jordan
2017 sees a new era of Formula One as there are a number of changes with the cars that will see them become more difficult to drive, yet a lot faster around the track. These are the first updates to the rules and regulations of the sport since 2014 when new engines arrived and this saw the domination of Mercedes as they won all three constructors titles as well as the three driver’s titles too.
Lewis Hamilton was champion in 2014 and 2015, but he was edged out last season by Nico Rosberg, who promptly retired from the sport, so we are certain to see a new champion in 2017. Will Hamilton be able to reclaim his title or will Ferrari, Red Bull or one of the other teams be able to usurp them with these new cars and rules?
We’re previewing several of the key betting markets for the 2017 season with online sportsbook Bet365.com to bring you the best F1 2017 picks.
Unsurprisingly, it is Hamilton (odds of 2.00 with Bet365 to become champion) who is favoured to add to his three F1 World Titles this season as he is the settled driver at Mercedes, who have dominated for the past three seasons, but the big question after pre-season testing is “are Mercedes still the leading team?”.
The Silver Arrows did have a few minor issues in pre-season testing while Ferrari looked far stronger than they have done in many years. In fact Ferrari looked so strong that many experts believe that they could be the strongest team on the grid at the start of the season and with Sebastian Vettel (4.50) and the vastly experienced Kimi Raikkonen (11.00) driving for The Prancing Horse they have the best driver line-up this season. However, with just one title since the end of the Michael Schumacher era in 2004 the Italian outfit often flatter to deceive and with one of the changes for 2017 being the doing away with the development token system you can be sure that Mercedes will iron out any kinks quickly and ensure that they winning races.
Hamilton will be the lead driver ahead of his new team-mate Valtteri Bottas (6.00) who arrives from Williams to take Nico Rosberg’s seat and the Brit will be the one to win the title if it is to go to the German team in 2017. We feel that this will be the case as by the end of the season, if not right from the start in Australia this weekend, that Mercedes will be in pole position ahead of Ferrari and the dark horse of Daniel Ricciardo (10.00) and Max Verstappen (9.00) in the Red Bulls. Red Bull are sure to challenge too this season with a focus on aerodynamics in the rules seeing the changes land squarely in their area of expertise. However, while we see wins for both of their drivers this season, we cannot, at this point, seeing them being a strong enough outfit to challenge for victories all season long unlike the Silver Arrows. As a result of this, we feel that Bet365.com have got the Driver’s Title odds correct and we’re backing Hamilton to return to the top step of the Driver’s Championship in 2017.
Our money is on Lewis Hamilton to become the 2017 F1 Driver’s Champion @ 2.00 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
The battle for the team’s title in 2017 will be fought between the three teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull according to Bet365.com as this trio have the only odds of less than 201.00 at 1.33, 4.33 and 6.50 respectively. We see this title again going the way of the Silver Arrows due to their experience at winning and the fact that with Bottas only arriving at the team this season the Finn is likely to be a number two driver to Hamilton for this season, so our pick for the driver’s title will take more wins from these two drivers while Bottas’ role will be as a blocker to ensure that the Silver Arrows take points away from the other two contenders. Red Bull’s issues this season will come with their duel number one driver policy that will again see Ricciardo and Verstappen battling against each other for victories and better results, perhaps at the expense of a team results. Ferrari will be the same as Mercedes in favouring Vettel over Raikkonen to win races but, again, with just two team titles to their name since 2004 we are not confident that the Prancing Horse has what it takes to last the whole season and take the title.
In this section, we’re going to take a look at some of our favourite season long bets, with head to head clashes and Over/Under race wins the categories we’re reviewing.
One of the most tempting head to head bets is the pairing at Red Bull in Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. The former is a talented youngster and is favoured to score more points than his older and more experienced team-mate this season, with the odds stacked in a 1.72/2.00. The Australian scored 52 more points than the Dutchman in the 2016 season, although he did have four extra races on the newcomer to the senior Red Bull team after he replaced Daniil Kvyat, but will it be youthful pace or experience that wins the day this season?
Bet365 are backing Verstappen, but with Ricciardo having almost 70 more F1 starts as well as having seen off four time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the season before the German moved to Ferrari coupled with bags of talent and pace we like the Australian as the outside for this inter-team battle at even money.
Outside of this, the only other season long head to head battles that catch our attention are the clashes at Sauber and Haas. We’re backing both of the favourites in these to competitions as in the former we feel that Marcus Ericsson, while having some pace, is no match the 1.61 favourite of Pascal Wehrlein who was one of the stand out drivers last season in the worst car on the grid – the now folded Manor.
Elsewhere, Grosjean is settled at Haas despite a tough first season that saw him frequently annoyed and angry with the car. However, issues are bound to arise in a team’s debut season and these setbacks will see him want to put new team-mate Kevin Magnusson, who has plenty of skills of his own, into the number two position in the team, just as he did with Esteban Gutierrez last season. We feel that Grosjean will win the Haas battle this season and we favour the Frenchman at odds of 1.57 at Bet365 compared to the 2.25 for Magnusson.
In the final category of F1 2017 bets we’re taking a look at the over/under race wins market which offers plenty of value.
First up is Kimi Raikkonen for Ferrari and the Finn is awaiting his first win in F1 since 2013 and even though the red car has looked strong in pre-season testing it is believed that the 2007 world champion is far behind a superb Sebastian Vettel. Kimi can be backed 1.72 to score less than 1.5 wins this season, with two or more wins available at 2.00. We’re backing the unders in this one.
Mercedes number two Valtteri Bottas has the same odds for under/over 3.5 races and with Lewis Hamilton expected to be dominant this season with Vettel likely to hoover up many of the other wins we cannot see this second Finn grabbing at least four wins this season. He will take the chequered flag though, but our money is on Bottas to score under 3.5 wins @ 1.72 in 2017.