Formula 1 returns to Spain this week after a two-week break following the first-ever Miami Grand Prix. Most teams are planning to bring upgrades to the weekend with Ferrari predicted to bring the most significant upgrade toward performance.
This weekend could be the first time this season where the arms race between the teams could come to light with Red Bull predicted to make smaller upgrades to the car this weekend.
According to the F1 odds at Betway, Max Verstappen is the odds-on favorite at +100, with Charles Leclerc close behind with odds of +125.
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F1 Spanish Grand Prix Odds
Odds as of May 19 at Betway
Previous F1 Race
The first-ever Miami Grand Prix was a rather tepid race, with most drivers not wanting to push due to the track’s punishing nature. Further, the track was still a bit dirty, leading to issues with grip, and several drivers aired their frustrations about the track layout.
One could predict that changes are coming to the Miami Grand Prix layout, especially to the chicane at turns 14 and 15, which is off-camber on both the entry and the exit, leading to a very uncomfortable set of circumstances for the drivers.
Almost predictably, Charles Leclerc took pole position on Saturday with Sainz securing P2, leading to a front-row lockout for the team in scarlet.
The Ferrari has been exceptionally strong in qualifying throughout this year, but Red Bull has held the advantage in the race, thanks to their exceptional straight-line speed and superior performance in the faster sections of the track.
Verstappen vs Leclerc
In so many ways this season evokes memories of seasons prior when Ferrari and McLaren were battling for supremacy in the sport in the early 2000s.
Just as it was back then, the Ferrari has outright pace and a reliable car. Further, Ferrari’s main rival arguably has a less reliable car that can still deliver very good performance during the race.
Nostalgia aside, Ferrari’s superior performance in qualifying should lead to Leclerc taking pole position for the race. And as we know, the Spanish Grand Prix track at Barcelona makes it very hard for drivers to overtake during the race.
So, Ferrari will be looking to keep up their performance in qualifying, and Red Bull will try to ensure that the front row lockout doesn’t occur again.
Given that nearly 75 percent of all race winners at the Spanish Grand Prix have held pole position for the race, qualifying performance can certainly be a good indicator of what to expect in the race.
Spanish Grand Prix Picks
Here’s what we know about Ferrari’s upgrade for the Spanish Grand Prix. The team has tested two different floors during the recent tire test and is rumored to be making a sizable upgrade to the car.
There are also rumors that Red Bull has already spent a significant portion of its R&D budget to bring the car up to pace in the first few weekends of the season, although Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko denies this.
Still, the fact remains that this is Ferrari’s first major upgrade to the car since the season began. Given the engineering mettle that the Italian outfit has proven so far with an incredibly mature car, we can certainly expect better race pace and tire management from the Ferrari.
Moreover, it is Carlos Sainz’s home race, and the Spanish driver will be looking to make the most of this opportunity to show out in front of his home fans. For these reasons, we believe that Sainz could be a good sleeper pick for winning the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a track that drivers will be extremely familiar with, given that winter testing takes place solely on this circuit. The track is known for having a good mix of high-speed and low-speed corners, and for being ill-suited for frequent overtaking.
This circuit is 4.6 kilometers in length and will play host to 66 laps in Sunday’s race. Verstappen currently holds the lap record with a 1:18.149 lap.
Spanish Grand Prix Betting Strategy
As we mentioned before, the best way for a driver to put themselves in a position to win the Spanish Grand Prix is to take pole position in qualifying.
Given Ferrari’s pace advantage over the Red Bull in qualifying, and the fact that it is bringing a significant upgrade to the car, you can expect Ferrari to take pole position on Saturday.
Of course, it has been neck and neck between Verstappen and Leclerc throughout this season, so the Dutchman cannot be discounted from taking the race win, but given Leclerc’s dominance in qualifying, we think that he could be a safe bet for the race win at the Spanish Grand Prix.