Max Verstappen looks primed to get a fifth victory at the Red Bull Ring in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix (9 a.m. ET, ESPN2).
Verstappen swept both races in Austria in 2021 as Formula 1 ran a doubleheader at the track for a second consecutive year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Verstappen’s wins in 2021 followed victories in 2018 and 2019 and he’s the winningest driver in F1 history at the circuit.
Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton swept the races at the Red Bull Ring in 2020 as they each started from the pole. Verstappen qualified first for both races in Austria a season ago — the last four winners have all come from the top spot.
F1 has raced 35 times at Spielberg since the first race at the track in 1970 and returned to the circuit in 2014 after an 11-year hiatus. Either Verstappen or a Mercedes driver has won every race at the track since F1’s return; the last non-Red Bull or Mercedes driver to score a win at the Austrian Grand Prix is Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher in 2003.
Ferrari’s got a pretty good chance in 2022. No. 2 driver Carlos Sainz got his maiden F1 win a week ago at the British Grand Prix and Charles Leclerc has been able to keep up with the pace shown by Verstappen and his Red Bull teammate Carlos Sainz.
But while we’re bullish — no pun intended — on Ferrari putting up strong laps in practice and qualifying, we’re a bit skeptical about the team’s race pace in Austria. The Red Bull Ring is a very high-speed track with three significant straightaway sections. While Ferrari will keep pace on the track’s many high-speed corners, the Red Bull cars could sprint away in a straight line.
That speed is why Verstappen is -125 at BetMGM to win the race, ahead of Leclerc at +250. Both Sainz and Perez are at +900 to win while Lewis Hamilton is +1000 to get his first victory of the season after Mercedes showed it could keep up with both teams at Silverstone.
Here are a few bets that we like for the Austrian Grand Prix. We’re hoping to do better than we did at the British Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc won’t finish 1-2 (-155)
Perez and Sainz have been good enough to make us believe that someone else will sneak into the top two on Sunday. If we were betting on a top-two combination we’d end up taking both Red Bull drivers.
Sergio Perez will beat Carlos Sainz (-110)
That’s why we’re leaning into Perez here in this head-to-head matchup. Perez is a whopping +5000 to win the driver’s title despite sitting second in the standings. While Verstappen will get the majority of Red Bull’s title efforts, his teammate should have better odds than that.
Kevin Magnussen to finish ahead of Lance Stroll (+100)
Aston Martin has been brutal so far this season. While Stroll has a better average finish than Magnussen, the Danish driver has 16 points to Stroll’s three. Magnussen was a spot ahead at Silverstone and we think that can happen again.
Pierre Gasly to finish top 10 (+150)
Gasly’s race at the British Grand Prix was ruined on the first lap in that terrifying crash at the start. Gasly has qualified in the top 11 in six of 10 races so far this season and if he makes it seven in 11 he’ll be sitting pretty for this bet to cash.
Charles Leclerc to win Free Practice 1 (+150)
We sound like a broken record regarding this bet but it would have hit with better weather in FP1 at Silverstone. When the weather is good, Ferrari and Leclerc are good to start the weekend.