Lewis Hamilton can still win and extend his unbeaten streak by one more game. This seven-time F1 champion has won at least one race in each of his previous 15 F1 seasons. However, he will go into Sunday’s (2022) season finale at Abu Dhabi (8 a.m. ET, ESPN2) winless on the year. For the majority of the season, he hasn’t even been in contention.
The (relative) difficulties Mercedes has had are by now well-known to the public. George Russell won by a comfortable margin, and Lewis Hamilton recovered from a collision with Max Verstappen to take second, so the team clearly has some serious speed.
Mercedes was the dominant team in Brazil because its superior cornering speed at Interlagos compensated for its lackluster straight-line speed. The Abu Dhabi track’s two long straightaways could hurt Hamilton’s chances of winning, despite the fact that Mercedes will likely have the fastest cars through the twisty sections of the track.
Hamilton and Russell could win again if Mercedes can make up for their slower top speed. And that’s reflected in the odds for the contest. As the +125 second favorite, Verstappen trails closely behind Hamilton (+250) and Russell (+350).
There isn’t anyone else around here. The odds on winner are Sergio Perez +800, Charles Leclerc +1000, and Carlos Sainz +1400.
The race between Perez and Leclerc for second in the points standings is incredibly intriguing, but Verstappen’s quest for a 15th win and Hamilton’s win streak are the two dominant storylines heading into the race. They both finished with an average of 290 points (5.5).
If Verstappen had done as Red Bull instructed on the final lap and swapped positions with Perez, Perez would have finished ahead of Leclerc. Instead, Verstappen spent the entire lap in hot pursuit of Fernando Alonso, during which time he maintained his position.
In the event that Perez needs assistance at Abu Dhabi, would Verstappen be willing to lend a hand? If he is capable of doing so, he should. There is nothing for Verstappen to lose at this point if Red Bull achieves its goal of a 1-2 finish in the driver standings.
Here are our predictions for the season finale in 2022. BetMGM is the source for all odds.
Hamilton, Lewis, will be a top-three finisher (-160)
So far, Mercedes has been more successful than Ferrari, and that trend should continue.
We predict that Sergio Perez will win the race and beat Charles Leclerc to the end (-140)
We expect Red Bull to finish in first and second place in the standings, and that is where our money will go.
Valtteri Bottas will come in second, and Sebastian Vettel will win (-110)
Since the beginning of the season, Alfa Romeo has lacked the speed it once possessed.
Tenth-place finish for Sebastian Vettel (-105)
In his last Formula One race, Vettel should finish in the points.
Prediction: Lewis Hamilton (+250) to take first place in the race.
One could say that this is a risky gamble made by a fool. However, it would be quite a feat if Hamilton continued his winning streak on the same track where he had lost his eighth championship the previous year due to a protocol violation on the part of the race director.