Verstappen Favored Over Leclerc at Imola

F1 Imola Background Leclerc

  • Max Verstappen overtook Chales Leclerc as the odds on favorite to win Sunday’s race in Imola.
  • Verstappen beat Leclerc in Sunday’s sprint race to take pole position in Sunday’s final race.
  • Lewis Hamilton finished a far 14th as Mercedes’ troubles with the performance of their car.

Formula 1 action returns on Sunday with the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy.

The race is the 4th leg of the 2022 Formula One World Championships and the first race in two weeks. In the last race of the season, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won the Australian Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ George Hamilton.

Leclerc is currently the leader in the Drivers Standings with 78 points. He is 40 points ahead of second placer Carlos Sainz and 41 ahead of third-placed Russell.

Verstappen Takes Pole

Leclerc entered the weekend as the +110 betting favorite to win at Imola on Sunday with Verstappen coming in second at +175 odds. They were followed by Carlos Sainz at +750 and Lewis Hamilton at +1200. But after beating Leclerc in Saturday’s sprint race to earn pole position in Sunday’s race, Verstappen also overtook the Ferrari ace on the betting odds boards.

According to online sportsbook Bet365 USA, Verstappen is now the -138 odds on favorite to win the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Leclerc meanwhile, saw his odds tumble to +162. Both Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton also tumbled, with Sainz falling to +1200 and Hamilton all the way down to a longshot +15000 after another disastrous qualifying round for Mercedes.

Ferrari and Leclerc have been off to a superb start with the maturity of the Ferrari ace and his car leaving the rest of the field with a lot of catching up to do. The Monegasque driver has won two out of the first three races of the season and currently maintains a healthy 40 points lead over second-placer and Ferrari teammate Carlos Sanz. Verstappen is far back at the 5th spot with 33 points but if he takes the chequered flag on Sunday, the defending F-1 champion could get himself closer to the top of the drivers’ standings.

Hamilton Writes Off Championship Chances

While Verstappen is trying to catch Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton has already written off his chances of winning a record 8th F-1 world championship after falling 50 points behind championship leader Leclerc after the Imola sprint race. Hamilton finished 14th in the sprint race after starting the 21-lap race in the 13th spot. That performance adds to an incredibly poor start for Mercedes which has struggled to keep up with rivals Red Bull and Ferrari in the aftermath of F-1’s new regulations.

The 2022 F-1 season is already four races in and if the Silver Arrow’s early struggles were not enough during the first three races, their performance hit a new season-low on Saturday as both their cars failed to finish in the top 10 in qualifying for the first time since 2012. Mereces pursued a different car concept from its rivals this year with a design that features narrow sidepods and leaves more of the top surface of the floor exposed. But the strategy has backfired and failed miserably as their car’s performance has been no match against its rivals.

Mercedes has dropped to third behind Ferrari (-175) and Red Bull (+175) in the Constructors championship betting boards at the Top F1 betting sites. The Silver Arrows are currently listed at +750 and are currently third in the standings behind Ferrari and Red Bull. Meanwhile, Hamilton is third behind Leclerc (-163) and Verstappen (+120) in the Drivers standings with his partner George Russell coming in at +4000.

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