Emilia Romagna F1 Grand Prix 2022: Odds, Preview and Top Storylines

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIApril 23, 2022

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands steers his car during the second free practice for Sunday's Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix, at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari racetrack, in Imola, Italy, Saturday, April 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Luca Bruno/Associated Press

The hottest rivalry in Formula 1 has made its way to Imola, Italy, as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have already been battling it out on Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend. And things are likely to pick up even more Sunday.

This event features a sprint format, meaning that Friday's qualifying session set the field for a short 21-lap race Saturday. The finishing order from the sprint then sets the order for Sunday's race. Of the first four events on the 2022 F1 schedule, it's the first to have this format.

Verstappen won the sprint race at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, passing Leclerc with two laps to go. So the two rivals will again start first and second for Sunday's race.

Here's everything else you need to know heading into the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.


Driver Odds to Win

Max Verstappen: -165 (bet $165 to win $100)

Charles Leclerc: +175 (bet $100 to win $175)

Sergio Perez: +1200

Carlos Sainz: +1400

Lando Norris: +4000

Daniel Ricciardo: +6500

George Russell: +10000

Lewis Hamilton: +10000

Fernando Alonso: +13000

Valtteri Bottas: +15000

Kevin Magnussen: +20000

Sebastian Vettel: +30000

Mick Schumacher: +40000

Yuki Tsunoda: +60000

Pierre Gasly: +60000

Lance Stroll: +80000

Esteban Ocon: +80000

Nicholas Latifi: +90000

Alexander Albon: +90000

Zhou Guanyu: +90000

Via DraftKings Sportsbook


Manufacturer Odds to Win

Red Bull Racing: -200

Ferrari: +135

McLaren: +2500

Mercedes: +5000

Alpine: +10000

Haas: +13000

Alfa Romeo: +13000

Aston Martin: +20000

AlphaTauri: +30000

Williams: +40000

Via DraftKings Sportsbook


Preview and Top Storylines

So far this season, either Leclerc or Verstappen has won every race. Leclerc was victorious at the first and third events of the year (Bahrain and Australia), while Verstappen notched a win in between (Saudi Arabia). Leclerc is the current points leader, while Verstappen ranks fifth.

There's a strong chance that either Leclerc or Verstappen will be victorious again Sunday at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. And we got a preview of what may come during Saturday's sprint race.

Verstappen started on the pole for the sprint after a strong showing in Friday's qualifying session, while Leclerc began in second. However, it didn't take long for Leclerc to pull in front of Verstappen to take an early lead.

But Verstappen never let Leclerc get too far ahead. With two laps to go, Verstappen made his move, taking the lead and holding on to finish first in the sprint. He'll now lead the field to the green flag again in Sunday's race, though Leclerc will again be right there at the front with him.

"I mean, my start was just terrible and I didn't have gear sync for whatever reason, so yes, I need to see exactly what went wrong," Verstappen said, according to Formula1.com.

If Verstappen gets off to a slow start again Sunday, then it's possible Leclerc will jump out in front. And this time, Verstappen may not be successful in taking the lead back, especially with how strong Leclerc has been to open 2022.

Not only has Leclerc won two of the first three events, but the 24-year-old finished second at the only race he didn't win in Saudi Arabia.

"I pushed hard at the beginning to try and not be too vulnerable with Max having the DRS behind," Leclerc said of Saturday's sprint, according to Sky Sports. "I feel like I paid the price for doing that at the end of the race. It felt like, perhaps, [Red Bull] had something more today and [Verstappen] kept it towards the end of the race and overtook me when it mattered."

Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz will be starting third and fourth, respectively, in Sunday's race with each looking for his first win of 2022. Lewis Hamilton, who won six of the seven F1 championships from 2014 to 2020, will be starting 14th.

It's been a bit of a slow start to the season for Hamilton, who is currently sixth in the standings. He started 13th in Saturday's sprint race, losing a position by the end.

With Verstappen and Leclerc set to lead the way Sunday, it seems unlikely that one of the two doesn't end up the winner. And it should be entertaining to watch the rivals again battle it out for the victory, just like we already saw happen Saturday.


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