Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix betting preview: Will Lewis Hamilton have a new engine for the race?

·3-min read

Will Lewis Hamilton be starting at the back of the field on Sunday?

Hamilton is the defending winner of the Turkish Grand Prix (8 a.m. ET, ESPN2). He clinched his seventh F1 title a year ago in Turkey after he drove from sixth to first on intermediate tires on a drying track. Hamilton cruised to the win as he tied Michael Schumacher for the most F1 championships.

Yet he’s not the favorite for the win on Sunday. Hamilton is at +165 to win the race behind Max Verstappen at -135. Hamilton is ahead of Verstappen in the points standings after winning the Russian Grand Prix while Verstappen drove from last to second with the help of some rain on the final laps.

Will Hamilton be making a similar drive in Turkey? Verstappen started the Russia race at the back of the field because his team put a new engine in the back of his car. Teams are allowed to use three engines per season and Verstappen’s new engine was his fourth. A new engine outside of the original allotment means a driver must start the race at the back of the field.

Hamilton hasn’t used a fourth engine this season and it may benefit him to do so at some point. A fresh engine has more power and can be used for multiple races before wear sets in. Hamilton and his Mercedes team haven’t ruled out the possibility of a fourth engine for the defending champ. And Turkey could be the place to do it.

The track provides more passing zones than some other tracks on the schedule. Hamilton could work his way through the field and get a top five after starting at the back. While a fifth-place finish and a Verstappen win means the Red Bull driver takes over the points lead with six more races to go, it could be worth it in the long run for Mercedes to give Hamilton a fresh engine sooner rather than later.

“It’s a possibility,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff told Sky Sports about a fourth engine for Hamilton. “When and how is not yet decided.”

Because of Wolff’s comments, we advise you to stay away from any race bets involving Hamilton until you know if he’s taking a new engine or not. Here are our picks for the race weekend in Turkey. All odds are via BetMGM.

Valtteri Bottas to win Free Practice 1 (+275)

The odds are typically lower than we like on a Bottas win in FP1, but he has a knack for putting up fast laps early in a race weekend. And he’s definitely not going to have an engine change after having new engines ahead of both the Italian Grand Prix and Russian Grand Prix.

Any other driver other than Max Verstappen to win FP1 (-135)

This is a Mercedes hedge. Since we’re going with Bottas to win, we’ll double down on Verstappen not winning FP1 and taking any other driver in the field.

Max Verstappen to win the pole (+120)

Given Verstappen’s odds to win the race are at -135, you might as well take him at way better odds to win the pole. You could hedge this bet a bit with a Red Bull car to win the pole at +100, but Sergio Perez hasn’t shown any qualifying pace all year that makes us think the hedge is worth it.

Max Verstappen to post the race’s fastest lap (+200)

Verstappen and Hamilton are both at +200 to have the fastest lap in the race. Even if Hamilton starts at the back with a new engine, traffic could make his attempt at a fast lap a problem.

Sergio Perez to finish 4th or worse (-250)

Sorry Sergio, the curse of the second Red Bull car appears to be real and Red Bull is going to be focusing all of its efforts on Verstappen the rest of the season.

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