Both Mercedes were outside the Top 10 after a tumultuous qualifying session, and neither driver improved their position during Saturday’s sprint. We’re fading the wounded beast in our Emilia Romagna Grand Prix picks because there’s F1 betting value in doing so.
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the first of three sprint races in the 2022 Formula One season, took place this weekend, with a 21-lap race on Saturday forming the grid for Sunday’s Imola GP.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull earned a pole in Saturday’s sprint session and kept it, despite a difficult fight from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, to enter Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as the odds favorite.
We’re skipping the race-winner market because there’s so little between the two frontrunners during the 21-lap sprint race, but we’ll still provide you our Emilia Romagna Grand Prix picks and predictions before the lights go out on April 24.
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix predictions
Post–sprint race predictions
Red Bull – Double podium finish, Hamilton – No points finish
Both cars on the podium in Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Pick: Red Bull (Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez)
If you followed our pre-sprint race choices, you would have had a head start on the Sergio Perez podium market, which was priced at +120 after his seventh-place qualifying on Friday. That number has dropped to -138 as he gained four positions in Saturday’s sprint race to secure a spot on the second row, in third, for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
While that’s still a good deal, we can gain a little more for our money by trying the luck on both Red Bulls to finish on the podium at +125.
With Max Verstappen on pole and a virtual guarantee to finish first or second barring any further reliability concerns, the battle for third will be between Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. In Saturday’s sprint race, both drivers made significant gains, but Perez should have the advantage.
Before Sainz fell out and a red flag spoiled Perez’s fast lap, Perez was on track to out-qualify him on merit (more on that below). Perez was second fastest in FP2 and around 0.7 seconds faster overall than sixth-fastest Sainz on Saturday, and he maintained his pace lead over the Ferrari driver when both charged up the field during the sprint race.
Point finish in Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Pick: Lewis Hamilton
Many saw the rain kicking up again during a pit break in Q2 on Friday as a cruel twist of fate for Mercedes, since neither Lewis Hamilton nor George Russell were able to clock a time on slicks, and so were unable to finish in the Top 10. It may, however, have rescued the dominant team from shame, as neither driver was a sure thing to qualify in Q3 even under ideal conditions.
The porpoising that has caused so many issues for the team this year has gotten even worse in Italy, according to team principal Toto Wolff, who stated that the drivers had to take off the throttle in the start/finish straight to reduce the problem.
Sebastian Vettel, whose Aston Martin employs the same Mercedes power as Hamilton, is in 13th place. Vettel was about a tenth of a second faster in qualifying than Hamilton.
Yuki Tsunoda sits in 12th place, with a Red Bull powertrain that is far superior to Hamilton’s Mercedes — and Tsunoda passed him during the sprint race. Then there’s Hamilton’s teammate Russell, who has been faster in every practice this weekend than Hamilton.
Although Hamilton remaining outside the points is far from a foregone conclusion, at +175, the GOAT is being given much too much credit.