- Fresh off his win at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Max Verstappen is perched as a narrow favorite ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix
- Defending champion Lewis Hamilton closely trails Verstappen, while the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. are poised for a breakthrough
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Sunday morning’s race at the Algarve International Circuit
Max Verstappen will be aiming to take home the checkered flag in consecutive races for the first time in his Formula 1 career when he hits the track as a narrow +140 favorite in the F1 Portuguese Grand Prix odds. Verstappen is coming off a decisive victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix two weeks ago and also recorded a third-place finish at this event last year.
However, the Red Bull Racing star is likely to have his hands full against the defending champion in this race. Lewis Hamilton returns to the Algarve after dominating in this race last fall and closely trails Verstappen as a strong +160 bet to pad his slim lead atop the F1 Drivers Championship odds with his second victory of the season.
Here’s a look at all the odds, and what drivers to watch, as Round 3 of the 2021 Formula 1 season gets underway at 10:00 AM EST on Sunday morning at the Algarve International Circuit.
Odds to Win 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix
|Driver||Odds to Win at FOX Bet||Odds to Finish Top Three||Odds to Finish Top Six|
|Carlos Sainz Jr.||+6600||+900||-125|
Odds as of April 29
Can Verstappen Maintain Fast Start
Verstappen has put his rivals on notice with a pair of impressive performances to open the 2021 F1 season. The 23-year-old finished just 0.745 seconds behind winner Lewis Hamilton in the season-opening race in Bahrain and followed up with a stellar outing in Imola two weeks ago, outpacing Hamilton by 22 seconds while claiming his 11th career F1 win and his second in three outings since last fall.
However, it will be a tall order for Verstappen to maintain that momentum in Portugal, where Hamilton dominated last season. The reigning F1 champion was in a class of his own in his last trip to the Algarve. Hamilton seized the pole and recorded the fastest lap on the way to his a runaway victory by a 25.592-second margin over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Sergio Perez Due for a Rebound
For Verstappen to keep pace, he will likely need a better outing from new teammate Sergio Perez. “Checo” has struggled so far in his Red Bull debut. The talented Mexican started the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix alongside Hamilton in the front row but proved to be a non-factor while finishing 11th. That performance comes on the heels of a shaky season debut in Bahrain, where he was forced to start from the pit lane and battle his way back into fifth.
Safe to say Helmut Marko wasn't impressed with Sergio Perez's race at Imola.
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) April 21, 2021
Despite his uneven start, Checo remains worthy of consideration as a +100 bet to reach the podium, considering his steady performances in qualifying. And if he can avoid another incident on Sunday, Checo can also play a key role in providing support to Verstappen against the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas, who have finished 1-2 on five occasions since the start of last season, including at this event last fall.
Portuguese Grand Prix Recent Winners
|Year||Driver||Margin of Victory||Pole Position||Fastest Lap|
|2020||Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes||25.592 sec||Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes|
Ferrari Gaining Ground on Mercedes, Red Bull
While the focus remains squarely on Red Bull and Mercedes at the top of the F1 Constructors Championship odds, it is tough to overlook the Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr., who are coming off a strong outing in Imola. The Ferrari duo rallied to finished fourth and fifth respectively two weeks ago, signaling a possible turnaround for the struggling Italian team.
Leclerc has now finished among the top six in each of his two outings this season. And with Ferrari engineers providing him with a more reliable ride after enduring a 2020 campaign plagued by technical problems, Leclerc is poised to improve on his fourth-place finish at this event last season.
Carlos Sainz has described Charles Leclerc as a "qualifying expert", though he believes it is "only a matter of time" until he matches his teammate. pic.twitter.com/iS5R6i4gIO
— formularacers (@formularacers_) April 29, 2021
While taking Leclerc as a +4000 bet to claim the checkered flag is not for the faint-hearted, he is worthy of consideration as a +350 value wager to reach the podium. After driving to sixth place or better in nine of the past 11 races he has finished, Sainz is a solid betting option at +125 in the F1 Portuguese Grand Prix odds to once again crack the top six.
The Picks: Charles Leclerc to finish top three (+350); Carlos Sainz Jr. to finish top six (-125)
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