Formula 1 betting: Max Verstappen is the favorite again ahead of the French Grand Prix

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Is the race for the French Grand Prix checkered flag among four drivers?

Points leader and defending Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen enters Sunday’s race (9 a.m. ET, ESPN2) as the favorite at +120. But there are three other drivers at +900 or better to win the race. And that group includes Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton has finished third in each of the past two races as Mercedes keeps finding more pace in its car. While Mercedes isn’t nearly as fast as Ferrari and Red Bull, the team has gotten closer to the top two teams and that improvement is reflected in Hamilton’s odds. The seven-time champion is +650 to win the race and the No. 3 favorite behind Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at +160.

Mercedes has been best at tracks that are fast and smooth. And the Circuit Paul Ricard fits that bill. Hamilton had a chance to grab a win at the British Grand Prix before a safety car in the second half of the race. And if that pace from Silverstone carries over to the similar French track, Hamilton could be in the mix for the win again.

01 Max Verstappen, Oracle Red Bull Racing, RB18, action 16 Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, F1-75, action  during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring circuit from 7th of June to 10th of July, 2022 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
01 Max Verstappen, Oracle Red Bull Racing, RB18, action 16 Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, F1-75, action during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring circuit from 7th of June to 10th of July, 2022 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Sergio Perez is the No. 4 favorite at +900. Mercedes’ George Russell is the No. 5 favorite at +1400 while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz is at +1800. Sainz won the British Grand Prix and would likely have much better odds to win the race in normal circumstances. But he’s facing a likely grid penalty after his engine blew up at the Austrian Grand Prix and would have to start at the back of the field.

Here are some of the bets we like for the French Grand Prix at BetMGM. Hamilton is not on the board to win Free Practice 1 after Mercedes announced Wednesday that reserve driver Nyck De Vries would use one of his young driver practice allocation sessions on Friday.

Lewis Hamilton to finish top 3 (+110)

We’re not ready to pull the trigger on a Hamilton to win bet on a serious basis. But Mercedes has been consistent enough this year that Hamilton should be looking at P3 on Sunday and Sainz’s likely absence from the front of the grid helps immensely.

Charles Leclerc to win the pole (+125)

Ferrari’s speed in the corners should be enough to barely hold off Red Bull’s straightaway speed, especially if Ferrari can maneuver a Q3 draft for Leclerc from teammate Sainz if Sainz is facing a grid penalty.

An Alpha Tauri car to finish ahead of an Alfa Romeo car (+130)

This pairs well with our next bet. Alpha Tauri is due for a rebound.

Pierre Gasly to finish top 10 (+160)

Gasly hasn’t finished in the top 10 in any of the last three races. But he qualified 11th at Silverstone before he was part of the massive lap 1 crash that saw Zhou Guanyu go upside down into a tire barrier. Gasly should break the streak this weekend.

Zhou Guanyu to finish ahead of Valtteri Bottas (+300)

Zhou has the longest odds of any driver among head-to-head teammate props. He’s shown speed lately and it’s not out of the question that a strategy play could get him ahead of Bottas.

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