Emilia Romagna F1 Grand Prix 2022: Odds, Preview and Top StorylinesApril 23, 2022
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
Manufacturer Odds to Win
Red Bull Racing: -200
Alfa Romeo: +13000
Aston Martin: +20000
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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