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F1 Imola Grand Prix Odds: Verstappen Favored in Second Race

Max Verstappen is the favorite in the F1 Imola Grand Prix odds.

One race down in a new F1 season, with Lewis Hamilton clinching a thrilling season opener in Bahrain. The F1 calendar moves on to its second race after a three-week break with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, also known as the Imola Grand Prix, on April 18.

Max Verstappen (+120) is the favored driver to win with Hamilton (+125) not far behind. Valtteri Bottas (+650), Sergio Perez (+1000) and Charles Leclerc (+4000) are next on the oddsboard at BetOnline Sportsbook.  

Want a reliable betting guide for F1 betting? Take a look at Odds Shark’s dedicated F1 page.

Imola Grand Prix Odds

F1 Odds to win the Imola Grand Prix
Max Verstappen+120
Lewis Hamilton+125
Valtteri Bottas+650
Sergio Perez+1000
Charles Leclerc+4000
Daniel Ricciardo+4000
Carlos Sainz+6600
Pierre Gasly+6600
Yuki Tsunoda+10000
Fernando Alonso+15000
Lance Stroll+15000
Lando Norris+15000
Sebastian Vettel+15000
Esteban Ocon+25000
Kimi Raikkonen+50000
Antonio Giovinazzi+100000
George Russell+100000
Nicholas Latifi+200000
Nikita Mazepin+200000
Mick Schumacher+250000

Odds as of April 8 at BetOnline Sportsbook

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Previous Race

The new Formula 1 season could not have started in better fashion. The Bahrain Grand Prix was the most viewed F1 race since 1995. In the UK, viewership crossed two million on Sky Sports F1 while in the US, viewership exceeded one million on ESPN. That wasn’t surprising considering the way the race finished.

Lewis Hamilton registered his 96th career win after staving off a resurgent Max Verstappen by less than a second. Hamilton needed a total time of 1:32:03.897 to complete 57 laps in Bahrain while Verstappen needed 0.745 seconds longer. Hamilton’s Mercedes colleague Valtteri Bottas finished third.

Evidence from the first race certainly proved that Red Bull Racing is no pushover this season. Sergio Perez’s fifth-place finish ensured Red Bull picked up 28 constructor points.

Who Are the Favorites to Win the Imola Grand Prix?

Red Bull’s Verstappen (+120) is the favored driver to win this race. Surprising? Not really. He was in absolute control of Bahrain in the early stages but lost control around the first pit stop.

Verstappen had to settle for third spot in the driver standings in 2020, nine points behind Bottas in second place. This could be his year if he can find a few vital pole positions, like this one in Imola. His implied probability to win, according to our sports betting calculator, is 45 percent.

Hamilton (+125) has almost the same odds as Verstappen. After his fantastic win at Bahrain to open the season, he could be a reliable choice for your betting slip as well.

Here’s an important quote after his win in Bahrain: “Definitely stopping early, we knew it was going to be difficult, but we had to cover Max. We stopped for that last stint and tried to find the right balance not pushing too much and having tires for the end of the race. It was one of the hardest races I’ve had for a while.”

Hamilton’s morale is good, he has ample confidence, he is the reigning F1 champion and he is also one of the best technical drivers in the world. He also passed Michael Schumacher’s record of most laps led in F1 (5,111). If I had to place a wager on just one driver for Imola, it would be Hamilton. His implied probability to win is 44 percent.

Left-Field Picks to Win the Imola Grand Prix

In this current form, don’t ever discount a member of the Mercedes team. Bottas (+650) can always be counted on to push the favorites. He finished second in the driver standings last year, which is not easy to do regardless of the quality of the car. However, with due respect to Bottas, he wouldn’t be my punt on this race because Verstappen and Hamilton are simply better technical drivers.

On paper, the only other choice really is Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (+1000). The car will continue to power drivers because of its outstanding technicals and reliable management, both inside and outside the car.

McLaren’s Lando Norris (+15000) finished fourth in the Bahrain Grand Prix. He tends to have races where he overperforms and could be a left-field choice for a podium finish.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in 2020

The FIA had to quickly improvise in 2020 to add the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix or “Imola” to the 23-race calendar as a replacement of the Chinese Grand Prix. Imola historically hosted the San Marino Grand Prix for 25 years, from 1981 to 2006. It was not scheduled to make a return this year. However, with several countries not being able to stage a race because of restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus, it will host its second successive race.

Lewis Hamilton won the Imola Grand Prix last year. Bottas, who won the pole position, finished second while Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top three.

Race Technicals

The circuit length is a little under five kilometers (4.9 kilometers, 3.05 miles). The total length of the race is 309 kilometers (192 miles), divided into 63 laps. Last year, Hamilton finished the race in 88 minutes 32 seconds.

This is a higher-speed track than many on the F1 calendar. The impact of this speed is severe. Cars are usually recommended to not stay too close to another car in the vicinity because of a disruption to its aerodynamics.

“The speed we’re doing from Turn 2 onwards,” Hamilton said ahead of the race last year. “It’s really intense, non-stop medium- high-speed, the grip is very high and the faster you’re going, the harder it is to be inch-perfect.”

There have been some changes to this track, with the double bend (also called a chicane) removed toward the end of the layout (around turns 16 and 17), which will leave drivers with a straight push all the way to the infamous Turn 2. Pit entry is toward the end of Turn 16.

Even though Hamilton eventually overtook Bottas to win the race, it’s a safe bet that there won’t be too many drivers making pressing moves to climb up the race chart. Qualifying will be a vital factor at Imola for this reason. There are several technical turns that will force drivers to either stall or accept a braver approach, which has a significant betting impact. If you’re opting for in-play betting, this might be a key factor.

Forecasted Weather Conditions

There is expected to be rain in Imola this weekend (more than a 50 percent chance of precipitation). Importantly, the chance of rain for race day is under 10 percent. The maximum expected temperature is around 18 degrees Celsius. This is important because it shouldn’t give rise to another set of conditions that could affect the race. If there is rain or heavy winds, race conditions change severely, impacting the type of tires used.

Betting Strategy for Imola

For this race in particular, considering the nature of the turns, you would think that qualifying is crucial. If either Verstappen or Hamilton wins the pole, you can expect their odds to drop drastically because of their skill.

If I had to choose one, I’d stick with Mercedes and Hamilton. That combination has proved to be too strong for the rest of the world over a sustained period of time. However, if you aren’t up for the risk ahead of qualifying, you could always cut your losses by picking the favorite to win in Verstappen, and potentially cash out at some point during the race.