Charles LeClerc will be in his old neighborhood a few weeks from now when he competes in the Grand Prix of Monaco.
Right now, however, he is part of Formula One's American invasion as they have dressed up the parking lot of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL for the Miami Grand Prix.
A full circuit has been constructed on the grounds where the Miami Dolphins compete, and the team has had no small role to play in this whole thing happening. It's not often that an entire layout is built on the fly, but the Dolphins are doing some bold things. We know that they've had Super Bowls there, but they also host the Miami Open tennis tournament. And it can be argued that this F1 event is about as big in terms of hoopla and nightlife as a Super Bowl. And the area is kind of ideal for the sort of crowd these guys attract.
F1 has received a lot more attention because of the Netflix documentary series "Drive to Survive." They are about to get a lot more money out of the U.S. television market. And they are scheduling more races here. Las Vegas is on the slate later in the schedule. Austin is already there. And the Miami interests are fully intent on being a permanent destination.
Here are the odds to win the Miami Grand Prix, as they appear at BetOnline:
Charles LeClerc -125
Max Verstappen +180
Carlos Sainz +700
Sergio Perez +1600
Lewis Hamilton +3300
George Russell +6600
Lando Norris +6600
Valtteri Bottas +8000
Fernando Alonso +15000
Daniel Ricciardo +20000
Pierre Gasly +20000
Yuki Tsunoda +35000
Kevin Magnussen +40000
Esteban Ocon +50000
Sebastian Vettel +50000
Guanyu Zhou +100000
Mick Schumacher +100000
Alex Albon +200000
Lance Stroll +200000
Nicholas Latifi +400000
LeClerc won the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix and finished fourth in the overall standings in 2019. But he went winless the last two seasons, as did Ferrari overall.
But he came busting out of the gate at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, getting Ferrari off to a great start with a victory. LeClerc added one more win at the Australian Grand Prix and is now in first place among the drivers, leading Max Verstappen of Red Bull by 27 points.
One of the more interesting stories in recent years is that of Sebastian Vettel, who thrived with Red Bull, capturing four consecutive world championships from 2010 to 2013, setting an F1 record with fifteen pole positions in 2011. But he failed to win a race in 2014, and then moved to Ferrari, where he was eventually joined by LeClerc.
Ultimately he and the Ferrari people agreed to part ways, and he now drives for Aston Martin. Last year he was a non-contender, coming eleventh in the drivers' standings, and he's not off to a good start in 2022, having been shelved for the first two races with COVID-19 problems. He did manage to finish eighth in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy.
The rebel this week is Lewis Hamilton. Formula One has instituted a ban on jewelry worn by drivers in the cockpit of the car. And Hamilton happens to have a lot of jewelry. He showed up with an excessive amount of it at the beginning of this this week's festivities, and talked about pulling out of the race in protest. This event, like all the F1 races, is too big for that, so this is a situation worth keeping an eye on.
And by the way, could Hamilton, who drives for the Mercedes team, afford to pull out? This was supposed to be a season where he made a move to regain his championship; he had won it four years straight before being dethroned by Verstappen last year. But he's got just 28 points in four races, 21 less than teammate George Russell, and there's a lot of ground to make up.
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