In these early days of 2022, it seems like the biggest F1 story is one of silence. That silence refers to Lewis Hamilton, of course, who has given but one interview and has not updated any social media (at the time of writing) since qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (11th December 2021). The lack of communication from Hamilton has fuelled speculation over plans for his future. He has two years still to run on his Mercedes contract, but rumours persist that he may end his career before the new season starts.
However, we do find it interesting to see that Hamilton is the market leader for betting on F1 in the 2022 Drivers’ Championship. He is somewhere around even money to gain his 8th World Championship. His rival, Max Verstappen, has been given odds of around 2/1.
Bookies believe Lewis Hamilton will race in 2022
The odds give us some insight into what the bookies believe – that Hamilton will line up on the grid at Bahrain on 20th March to race for Mercedes. The bookies could be wrong, of course, but the fact that they are sticking their necks out and publishing odds quite similar to the beginning of last season says a lot about their conviction on his participation.
Bettors should, of course, consider Hamilton’s plans before placing a bet, although we can imagine some brave punters taking a shot on Verstappen or George Russell (6/1) if they believe Hamilton will call it quits. The reason for this is that the odds of other drivers would be shortened significantly should Hamilton retire. Russell is a good case in point. The British driver would suddenly find himself as the No.1 driver for Mercedes, and thus placed as one of the title favourites.
Other interesting takeaways from the recently published odds for the new F1 season include Mercedes firm footing in the Constructors’ Championship. While the odds for the Drivers’ Championship suggest the bookies seeing it as being more open than it has been for a few years, they still see Mercedes as odds-on red hot favourites to win yet another Constructors’ title.
Ferrari tipped to improve in 2022
In addition, we do see a pattern – in betting terms – for Ferrari to improve on what was a fairly terrible 2021 season. Odds of 6/1 for Ferrari to win the Constructors’ Championship are cut down significantly from the beginning of last season (they were as high as 25/1 at one point). Despite Ferrari drivers not winning any Grand Prix races in 2021, the team did finish quite well, finishing in the top 10 in the last seven races to secure third place in the Constructors’ Championship.
So, we will have to wait on news as to whether Hamilton will race this season. For the moment, however, the bookies believe that he will. When he breaks his silence, you might see some movement in the betting markets. For now, though, we must wait around like everyone else.