After another hugely significant and dramatic race in the context of the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship, Max Verstappen emerged from Monza as the betting favourite to win his maiden title in the sport.
The Dutchman entered the weekend as an 8/13 shot ahead of his rival, Lewis Hamilton, but the gap has closed between them as far as the bookies are concerned, even though Verstappen extended his championship lead by two points at the Italian Grand Prix courtesy of a second-place finish in the sprint qualifying on Saturday.
But neither the champion nor the challenger were able to score points on race day as they collided with one another on lap 26 in an incident that saw the back of Verstappen’s Red Bull pile on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes and end the race for both of them.
Despite Hamilton now having a five-point deficit to make up, his odds have shortened because Verstappen was handed a three-place grid for the upcoming Russian Grand Prix, therefore increasing the possibility that he will be usurped in Sochi.
888sport ranks among the best betting sites as far as odds are concerned, and they have Hamilton priced at 11/10 to retain the Drivers Championship with Verstappen now at 8/11.
Including Russia, there are eight scheduled race weekends between now and the end of the 2021 season, and if the first 15 races are anything to go by, then there will be plenty of twists and turns in both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championships as we move towards the climax of the campaign.
It hasn’t exactly been a season to remember for Valtteri Bottas as he has lost his Mercedes seat for next year and is yet to register a race win this term, but it was he who scored the most points for either Mercedes or Red Bull last weekend despite starting from the back of the grid on Sunday due to an engine penalty.
The Finn put in the fastest lap during Friday’s qualifying and converted that into a sprint qualifying triumph a day later to earn three points for the team.
Then, the Alfa Romeo-bound driver then made his way through the field on Sunday to finish third – two places ahead of Sergio Perez – and help open up an 18-point advantage for Mercedes over Red Bull.
All of this means that Mercedes is now as short as 4/7 to win their eighth consecutive Constructors Championship, with Red Bull out to 5/4 to manage their first title since 2013.
Since Perez mustered two back-to-back top-three finishes in June, he is yet to find himself on the podium again, and he has only scored points in four of the seven races since the French Grand Prix.
With Verstappen and Hamilton going blow-for-flow and Bottas rounding out the top three in the driver standings, Perez will need to contribute more points down the stretch if his team is going to come out on top.
In the 2021 #F1 season (yet) only two drivers have scored 27 points over a Grand Prix weekend:
Lewis Hamilton (UK)
Daniel Ricciardo (Italy)
Max Verstappen’s highest score has been 26 points – France & Austria.#F1
— Kunal Shah (@kunalashah) September 13, 2021