Are you ready to bet against Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia?
Verstappen is -200 to win Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (1 p.m. ET, ESPN) after his impressive win at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez finished second in that race and Red Bull was so good that Mercedes’ George Russell said that Red Bull drivers should win every race this season.
It is very likely that Russell’s statement was exaggerated. But it was easy to see some truth beneath that hyperbole. Nobody had anything for Red Bull in Bahrain.
Combine that with a 10-place grid penalty in Sunday’s race for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and you get Verstappen on such a slim margin. Leclerc will start 10 spots short of qualifying as Ferrari has already had to add a third control electronics component to its car this season. The team replaced the component before the Bahrain race and Leclerc’s car failed to meet it. Teams are permitted to use two ECUs per season. Leclerc is now on his third ECU in two races.
Pérez is +450 to win the race while Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso is +800 after finishing third in Bahrain.
Here are some bets we like ahead of race weekend. We are looking forward to a comeback after a bad start to the season.
Max Verstappen (-200) to win the race
We’re going with the KISS philosophy here. Even though Verstappen may be dealing with a stomach bug this week, there is no reason to unnecessarily over-complicate things.
Alex Albon to finish ahead of Yuki Tsunoda (-140)
Albon scored a point in Bahrain as Williams looked better than a season earlier.
Verstappen to win pole (+120)
Ferrari may have the single-lap pace to keep up with Red Bull once again but Verstappen deserves to be taken on positive odds.
Lando Norris to finish ahead of Pierre Gasly (+125)
Norris had a faster car when he was on track during the race. We’re betting McLaren’s reliability problems are fixed for this weekend.
Charles Leclerc (+450) to post the fastest lap of the race
The pace in Jeddah makes us wonder if a driver will get the fastest lap with the help of DRS. Starting Leclerc in the middle of the pack helps his odds there the best.