Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland steers his car during the Monaco Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco, Sunday, May 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
- Following his dominating victory in Monaco, Max Verstappen joins Lewis Hamilton atop the odds to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
- Verstappen and Hamilton have combined to win each of the first five races of the 2021 Formula 1 season
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Sunday morning’s running of the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Max Verstappen will hit the track perched atop the Formula 1 Drivers Standings for the first time in his career when he travels to Baku for Sunday’s running of the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix as a +125 co-favorite. Verstappen capitalized on the bad luck of his rivals at Mercedes and Ferrari last time, easily powering to victory at the Monaco Grand Prix, and now sits four points up on defending champion Lewis Hamilton in the standings.
Hamilton looks to the weekend deadlocked with Verstappen atop the odds despite stumbling to a seventh-place finish in Monte Carlo, marking his worst outing since last summer’s Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas is also looking to rebound as he returns to the scene of past success as a +800 bet.
Here’s a look at all the odds and trends ahead of the 4th running of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit on Sunday morning at 8:00 AM EST.
Odds to Win 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
|Driver||Odds to Win at BetMGM||Odds to Finish Top Three||Odds to Finish Top Six||Odds to Finish Top 10|
|Carlos Sainz Jr.||+5000||+650||+125||-450|
Odds as of June 3
Hamilton & Verstappen Rivalry Heating Up
Formula 1 fans are being treated to something this season they haven’t seen for years – a race for the F1 Drivers Championship. Hamilton and Verstappen have dominated through the first five races of the season, with the defending champ claiming the checkered flag on three occasions, and Verstappen tallying a pair of wins, and five straight trips to the podium.
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The early lead has not helped boost Verstappen’s position in the F1 futures, where he continues to lag behind Hamilton as a +122 second favorite. And things are likely to get no easier this weekend in Baku, where Mercedes has enjoyed considerable success. Hamilton and Bottas have combined to win two of the three previous editions of this race, with the teammates each reaching the podium on one additional occasion.
#2021AzerbaijanGrandPrix #AzerbaijanGrandPrix Warmer temperatures and strong gusts forecast for Azerbaijan Grand Prix | 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix weather https://t.co/Nwj6Ho8MSJ pic.twitter.com/ueLPPpMonk
— Flyin18T Motorsports (@Flyin18T) June 3, 2021
A strong dose of motivation after their struggles in Monte Carlo, combined with favorable weather conditions, should work to the Mercedes duo’s advantage this weekend. Unlike in the last running of this race two years ago, when temperatures hovered in the mid-teens Celsius, warm weather is expected this time around, with the forecast calling for temperatures in the high 20s. That should benefit the German team, who were unable to take advantage of soft tires on race day in Monaco after a sudden drop in temperature.
Bottas Motivated to Silence Naysayers
And in addition to Hamilton’s disappointing outing in Monaco, Bottas looks to bounce back after seeing his strong second-place run come to a screeching halt after the Mercedes pit crew were unable to complete a tire change. Bottas was subsequently saddled with part of the blame for the debacle by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, adding to the pressure that has been heaped on him since last season.
Valtteri Bottas on Toto Wolff’s claim that the Finn was partly to blame for the Monaco pit-stop issue:
“I was surprised. I saw the video and for me it was pretty spot-on, where I stopped, so I was quite surprised.
Are cracks starting to appear in that relationship? #f1 pic.twitter.com/EepmbVVgc3
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) June 3, 2021
The pit stop incident has overshadowed the fact that Bottas returns to Baku as defending champion in this race. The 32-year-old Finn has also been a steady performer in qualifying for this race, starting from the two front rows in each of his three appearances and claiming the pole last time out two years ago. In addition to adding considerable value to his lengthy +800 odds to take home the checkered flag, Bottas also sits as an intriguing +450 bet to once again seize the pole.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Recent Winners
|Year||Driver||Margin of Victory||Pole Position||Fastest Lap|
|2020||Race Cancelled due to COVID-19 Pandemic||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|2019||Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes||1.524 sec||Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes||Charles Leclerc – Ferrari|
|2018||Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes||2.460 sec||Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari||Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes|
|2017||Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull Racing||3.904 sec||Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes||Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari|
Ferrari Aims to Build on Bittersweet Success in Monaco
In the wake of the mixed results they produced in Monte Carlo, it will be an important weekend for Ferrari in Azerbaijan. Perched as the pole sitter, Charles Leclerc was forced to withdraw from the Monaco Grand prix prior to the race due to technical problems. However, Leclerc has otherwise remained a model of consistency this season, finishing among the top six in his first four outings. That trend extends to his two previous appearances in Baku, making him a reliable -275 bet to do it again on Sunday.
🏆 Congratulations for the P2 in Monaco! Really proud! What a special GP to achieve your first Ferrari podium. Well done @ScuderiaFerrari! 😀
— Carlos Sainz (@CSainz_oficial) May 23, 2021
Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. equaled his best-ever performance with his second-place finish in Monaco. The talented Spaniard has become increasingly comfortable during his first season with the Italian team and is worthy of consideration as a +125 wager to crack the top six once again.
The Picks: Valtteri Bottas to win (+800); Carlos Sainz Jr. to finish top six (+125)
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Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.