Austrian F1 Grand Prix 2022: Odds, Preview and Top Storylines
Max Verstappen has recovered well in the first days of Austrian Grand Prix buildup after a disappointing finish at the British Grand Prix.
The Formula One drivers' championship leader cruised to victory during Saturday's 23-lap sprint race to take the pole for Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen started first on the grid for Saturday's qualification race, and he faced no challenges from the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on Saturday.
Leclerc and Sainz have their own personal battle to figure out on track after Sainz captured his first career win at the British Grand Prix last week.
Leclerc opened the season as Ferrari's top threat to Verstappen, but there is only 12 points between himself and Sainz in the points standings and Sainz has looked more competitive over the last few races.
The Ferraris will also have to deal with the pace of Sergio Perez. The Mexican Red Bull driver gained eight spots over 23 laps in the sprint race to land fifth on Sunday's grid.
Most of the usual top-tier players are starting high on the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix, but there is one surprise from the Haas garage. Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher will start seventh and ninth, respectively, after solid showings in the sprint race at the Red Bull Ring.
Austrian Grand Prix Odds
Max Verstappen (-225; bet $225 to win $100)
Charles Leclerc (+330; bet $100 to win $330)
Sergio Perez (+1100)
Carlos Sainz (+1300)
Lewis Hamilton (+3000)
George Russell (+3000)
Esteban Ocon (+30000)
Kevin Magnussen (+60000)
Fernando Alonso (+60000)
All other drivers (+100000)
Red Bull's Race to Lose
Red Bull appears to have the upper hand over Ferrari at the Red Bull Ring.
Verstappen had the fastest car in Friday's qualifying session, and he cleared the Ferraris with relative ease at the start of Saturday's sprint race.
Verstappen faced so little trouble Saturday that the television cameras were fixated on the Ferrari battle for second place and the fight for eighth place, which was the final points position for the sprint race.
Verstappen could use a similar start as the sprint race to get in front of the Ferrari duo of Leclerc and Sainz for good.
Of course, there will be some differences to Sunday's race from Saturday's sprint race, including pit stops, more laps and the usage of different tires.
But if the Ferrari drivers are batting each other for second place, Verstappen can put together a gap between between himself and the red cars that gives him a buffer when he needs to pit.
Red Bull could be in for two podium finishes if Sergio Perez replicates his pace from the sprint race. He was forced to start in 13th because of a few grid penalties that were handed out after the end of the qualifying session.
Perez cruised through the middle of the field and ended up in a comfortable fifth position after passing Esteban Ocon.
If Perez had that pace for 23 laps, he could easily make up ground over a longer race on the Ferraris and George Russell, who start in the three positions between himself and Verstappen.
A double podium should be the minimum goal for Red Bull. That result would help recover points after Verstappen took seventh last week at the British Grand Prix.
How Will Ferrari Manage Race Strategy?
Ferrari came away from the British Grand Prix with a victory from Carlos Sainz, but it still felt like the team bungled its overall race strategy.
Charles Leclerc led the race before a safety car came into play. Leclerc was the only driver in the top five who did not pit, and the decision ended up costing him the win and a spot on the podium.
Sainz's win at Silverstone was well deserved, but it came with a bit of unrest because of the poor strategy with Leclerc's car.
The two Ferrari drivers drove hard against each other for second place in Saturday's sprint race, and the same situation will come into play Sunday if neither driver passes Verstappen at the start.
A head-to-head clash for second will not do Ferrari any good Sunday with Perez expected to challenge from fifth place and Russell being one of the most consistent drivers in the field.
Ferrari needs to manage the race properly at the beginning so that both drivers can have a chance to take down Verstappen in the final few laps, or outsmart him when it comes to pit strategy.
Ferrari's game plans have not been their strength this season. Leclerc lost out on a win at the Monaco Grand Prix because of a strategical error.
Sunday could be the day when Ferrari's strategy luck turns around and makes it a force to challenge Red Bull, but for that to happen, Leclerc and Sainz can't battle it out at the start and need to focus all their energy on keeping pace with Verstappen.
Will Haas Keep Up Positive Run of Form?
Haas delivered the biggest surprise to the starting grid, as both Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher finished in the top 10 of the sprint race.
Schumacher had one of the best drives of the afternoon. He held off Lewis Hamilton for quite a few laps before conceding eighth place in the final stage of the event.
Schumacher's Saturday drive featured more confidence behind the wheel. He gained a huge boost with his first-ever points finish at the British Grand Prix.
Magnussen remained ahead of the Schumacher-Hamilton battle for most of the sprint race. He will start Sunday alongside Hamilton on Row 4 in seventh place.
The promising sprint race results come one week after the first double points finish of the season for the bottom-of-the-field team.
Magnussen and Schumacher are in position to score in the points yet again if their pace remains the same.
The Haas pair will have to hold off threats from Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, but every performance from Friday and Saturday suggests Haas can compete for two top-10 places.
A second straight double podium would be a remarkable achievement for a team that struggled just to score one point for most of the season's first 10 races.
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