Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany arrives at the paddock ahead of the first free practice at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain. The new season starts Sunday March 28, 2021 with the Bahrain Grand Prix and ends in December 2021 at Abu Dhabi. (Hamad Mohammed, Pool via AP, File)
- Eight of 10 Formula 1 teams sport new drivers this season, with former F1 champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso among those on the move
- Rookies will also take center stage this season, with three drivers set to make their F1 debut
- We’ve got you covered with all the best bets in head-to-head wagering as the 2021 F1 season gets underway
Fans of Formula 1 racing have some homework to do ahead of this weekend’s season-opening race in Bahrain. Eight of 10 F1 teams have made roster changes behind the wheel during the offseason, with the lone exceptions being Mercedes and Williams. That makes this year’s F1 Drivers Championship matchup odds even more interesting with head-to-heads like Sebastian Vettel vs Lance Stroll and Mick Schumacher vs Nikita Mazepin.
Here’s a look at some of the key driver matchups in the F1 finishing position odds as the countdown to the start of the 2021 Formula 1 season continues.
F1 Drivers Championship Matchup Odds – Vettel vs Stroll
All odds taken March. 24 at DraftKings
Vettel Poised to School Stroll at Aston Martin
Following a disappointing six-year stint with Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel is hoping to rebound in 2021 after making an offseason move to Aston-Martin. Frustrated by a rash of technical problems last season, and a lame-duck role with the Italian-based team, the four-time F1 champion endured the worst campaign of his career. Vettel finished better than 10th on just three occasions, reaching the podium just once, and opens the season as a distant +6000 bet to win a fifth career F1 Drivers title.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 17, 2021
While the team formerly known as Racing Point is unlikely to provide him with an improved ride, Vettel is well positioned to be the preferred driver for Aston Martin this season. Racing Point’s “Pink Mercedes” took the F1 circuit by storm last season, with Sergio Perez finishing in the points in all 13 races he finished, including his first career win at the Sakhir Grand Prix. However, it was a different story for Lance Stroll. Bad luck and sometimes reckless driving forced Stroll to retire from five of his final nine races.
Lance Stroll rocketed off the line in Sochi! 🚀
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) September 28, 2020
A year older and poised to benefit from working alongside an F1 champion, Stroll enters a make or break season. And while he showed flashes of his potential in two podium finishes, it is tough seeing the 22-year-old outpacing a former champion with a lot to prove this season.
The Pick: Sebastian Vettel (-182)
F1 Drivers Championship Matchup Odds – Gasly vs Tsunoda
Can Gasly Outpace Tsunoda at AlphaTauri
Speaking of drivers with plenty to prove, Pierre Gasly enjoys little assurance of having a ride beyond the end of 2021. Gasly lasted just 12 races as Max Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull before being demoted to Toro Rosso in 2019. And while he managed to outpace Daniil Kvyat in his debut with AlphaTauri Honda last season, he still struggled to produce consistent results, particularly late in the season.
— F1 Paddock Employee (@InsideF1Paddock) March 23, 2021
Last season was not without its high points, most notably Gasly’s first career win at Monza. However, that victory came during a race marred by collisions and widespread technical problems and has done little to boost Gasly’s reputation. With Kvyat now gone from F1, Gasly faces a new threat in the form of rookie teammate Yuki Tsunoda. The 20-year-old makes the leap to Formula 1 after posting three victories last season on his way to a third-place finish in the Formula 2 Championship standings.
Yuki Tsunoda did 185 laps and set the second-fastest time in pre-season testing.
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) March 14, 2021
If his performance in preseason testing is any indication, Tsunoda is ready for primetime. The Japanese 20-year-old is at +10000 to win this year’s Drivers Championship. Tsunoda turned heads by finishing second to Verstappen in the final day of testing and offers enormous value as a +300 bet to outpace Gasly this season.
The Pick: Yuki Tsunoda (+300)
F1 Drivers Championship Matchup Odds – Schumacher vs Mazepin
Schumacher Holds Edge in Clash of Haas Rookies
With both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen leaving F1 at the end of last season, two rookies take over at Haas. Nikita Mazepin finally gets his chance after reaching the podium on six occasions while driving for Hitech Grand Prix in F2, including wins at Silverstone and Mugello.
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 24, 2021
However, all eyes are likely to be on Mick Schumacher as he makes the jump to F1 in the wake of a sensation championship campaign on the F2 circuit. The son of the legendary Michael Schumacher reached the podium on 10 occasions while driving for Prema Racing last season.
‘I feel pride, not pressure’
Almost 30 years on from legendary driver Michael Schumacher’s first F1 race, his son Mick will make his emotional Grand Prix debut this weekend.
— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 22, 2021
And after spending each of their first five seasons as also-rans near the bottom of the F1 Constructors standings, Haas are likely to bank on Schumacher’s name and recent success in their bid to climb into respectability. As a result, expect the 22-year-old to be given every opportunity to succeed this season.
The Pick: Mick Schumacher (-139)
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.