Bahrain Grand Prix Win Simulations: Chasing Red Bull

Jim Sannes
Jim Sannes@JimSannes
Bahrain Grand Prix Win Simulations: Chasing Red Bull

For all of 2023, the Formula 1 paddock was chasing Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

The team combined to win 21 of 22 races, 19 of which went to Verstappen. And, based on preseason testing numbers, they're in a tier of their own once again.

That doesn't mean there's no value to be had, though.

There's always uncertainty heading into the opening race. We don't know which teams sold out to post a quality time in testing, and plenty of conditions play into those final numbers. We won't know each team's true speed until qualifying on Friday.

Plus, there are plenty of markets we can bet that don't involve beating Verstappen.

With that said, a quick word of caution. Due to all of that uncertainty, my confidence in the win simulations below will be a bit diminished. They involve adjustments for cars that seem to have made gains or fallen behind, but it's impossible to know whether those adjustments accurately encapsulate all of the movement. Thus, please take everything with a grain of salt.

Having said that, here are my model's simulations for the Bahrain Grand Prix prior to Thursday's opening practice session.

Sim Outright
Max Verstappen69.6%86.6%87.0%87.0%
Sergio Perez8.9%51.8%80.0%86.4%
Charles Leclerc4.3%28.2%62.6%83.7%
Lewis Hamilton3.5%25.7%61.2%82.5%
George Russell3.1%21.3%52.7%79.5%
Lando Norris3.0%23.4%55.8%82.0%
Carlos Sainz3.0%20.0%50.7%78.6%
View Full Table

Verstappen's the runaway favorite, but he's still not a value based on FanDuel Sportsbook's F1 betting odds. His implied odds at -350 are 77.8%, meaning we can't buy into Verstappen right now.

His teammate, though, is a different discussion.

Sergio Perez had a rough 2023. He snagged just 2 of Red Bull's 21 wins, and he recorded only a single podium across the final eight races. Relative to Verstappen, Perez was a nightmare.

But he's had an entire offseason to reset, and he is still in the grid's dominant car. That counts for plenty.

In the two years that Red Bull has had their rocket ship, Perez has won 9.1% of the races. My model has him at 8.9% to win on Saturday. And yet, the betting market has Perez's win odds at 5.9% as he's +1600 to win at FanDuel.

Personally, even after considering the uncertainty in the model, I think that's underselling the chances Perez gets the job done. He was runner-up behind Verstappen in this race last year, and he won at this track with Racing Point back in 2020. I think this is a great spot to buy low on Perez in hopes that he's past last year's demons.

Most of the other values give me more pause. The Alpines of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon bring value to both finish T6 and T10, but the team has openly tried to temper expectations entering the year. Both Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri pop up as values to podium, but neither Aston Martin nor McLaren dazzled in preseason testing. Thus, I'm likely to pass on these.

The one other spot I'm willing to consider is Daniel Ricciardo to finish T6. He's +1000 to do so at FanDuel, 9.1% implied odds, down from 13.9% in the sims. RB is receiving increased technical support from its parent team, Red Bull, this year, and the team was quick in the preseason.

Ricciardo's lap times after taking over this seat last year were solid, even if he earned points in just one race. There's enough smoke here where I'm willing to bite and try to get ahead on Ricciardo, as well.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.