2022 Formula 1: Saudi Arabia Grand Prix Betting Tips

March 24th 2022, 4:12pm, By: Ben Bridge

Saudi Arabia GP Betting Tips

No rest for the wicked, and no rest for Formula 1 fans, as the travelling circus makes its way to Jeddah, for the second iteration of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. If last season’s race is anything to go by, we are in for an exciting second round of the season. Check out our preview and tips for the weekend below. 

Last week in Bahrain saw Ferrari ascending back to the top of the grid, with Charles Leclerc taking Pole Position before leading teammate Carlos Sainz home for a 1-2 finish for the Scuderia. Can they maintain the lead, or will Red Bull fight back after a disastrous double retirement in the latter stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix?

Be sure to check out the site before every Grand Prix during season 2022, as we will have a preview of every Grand Prix, analyse the betting markets, and look to give everyone some winning Formula 1 bets!

Saudi Arabia Grand Prix Betting Tips

Schedule: Practice 1 (Saturday 1am) Practice 2 (Saturday 4am) Practice 3 (Sunday 1am) Qualifying (Sunday 4am) Race (Monday 4am)

With Red Bull coming into the season as the favourites, it was expected that Max Verstappen would lead from the front and come away with an early championship lead. It was looking handy, with Verstappen claiming top spot in FP2 and FP3, however on both occasions Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was less that 0.1s behind. Qualifying was going to be tight. 

Unfortunately for our bet (Verstappen Pole Position), Leclerc came out on top in qualifying, just over 0.1s ahead of Verstappen, with Sainz in 3rd. The Mercedes’ were in fact struggling, qualifying 5th (Hamilton) and 9th (Russell), some 0.650s off the pace of Leclerc.

The race answered the question of could Ferrari take the fight to Red Bull, with Leclerc looking tremendous throughout. He led away from the start, with Verstappen and Sainz slotting in behind the Monegasque. There wasn’t a great deal of  action during the first stint, with Leclerc managing a solid lead over Verstappen heading into the first round of stops. After the first pit stop, a fantastic battle played out between the Leclerc and Verstappen, with the pair jostling for position for three straight laps, before Verstappen locked a wheel and the fight was over.

The action petered out somewhat throughout the middle of the Grand Prix before Verstappen pitted for the last time. When he emerged from the pit lane, he immediately began to complain to his pit wall that something was wrong. Then, the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly (8th) cried no more, with smoke and fire billowing from the engine of his vehicle. This triggered a safety car with 11 laps remaining.

The safety car ended on lap 50, and immediately Verstappen seemed slow. He continued complaining on the radio, with his Race Engineer assuring Max nothing was wrong. Verstappen was passed on lap 54 by Sainz, before his Red Bull gave up and he limped back to the pitlane to retire the car. Then, to make matters even worse for Red Bull, Sergio Perez (3rd) retired on the final lap, with his Red Bull seizing up heading into turn 1. Miraculously, this promoted Lewis Hamilton to 3rd position, with the final podium being Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton. An amazing result for Ferrari, damage limitation for Mercedes, and an absolute nightmare for Red Bull. It’s good to be back!

saudi arabia gp

 

Preview

It would appear as though we head to the 2nd race of the 2022 Formula 1 season predicting a two-horse race between Ferrari and Red Bull. With only a week since the Bahrain Grand Prix, there is surely no way the Mercedes can make the improvements necessary to battle for victory at Jeddah.

With the early battle being a clear victory for Ferrari, Red Bull desperately need a solid outing this weekend to stay in the hunt. Yes, it’s a long season (the longest ever with 23 races) but having a double DNF in the first race of the season sets them back significantly. More to this point, reliability issues could be a massive concern moving forward, with both cars failing around the same time in a seemingly identical way. And let’s not forget Pierre Gasly in the sister Alpha Tauri failed to finish with some form of electrical issue.

Ferrari on the other hand had a perfect weekend. They were extremely happy with their off-season testing program and came into the Bahrain Grand Prix as a clear top 2 team. Qualifying on pole position, and finishing the race 1-2, whilst your early title rivals failed to score a single point, Ferrari left Bahrain in a tremendous spot.

As mentioned, last year was the first race at the Jeddah circuit, and it very much seemed a “Mercedes” track. Engine performance and medium to high-speed corners set up perfectly for the 2021 Mercedes, and Hamilton went on to win the race after qualifying on pole. This year, the circuit remains basically the same, but the teams and their strengths and weaknesses seemed to have changed. The Mercedes engine suddenly appears to be the weakest in the field, with the Ferrari the top performing engine at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Whilst Red Bull’s top end speed was far quicker than Ferrari’s, the Ferrari was far better under acceleration. Added to this, Ferrari were running higher downforce, and it is expected at a more power dominant circuit such as Jeddah, Ferrari will show the true strength of their engine.

Given the emphasis on power at this track, I’m anticipating the leaders of the midfield to again be the Ferrari powered Haas and Alfa Romeo’s. Alpine were quick here last year, with Ocon leading the race at stages, and given their solid pace in Bahrain they would also appear a chance at points finishes.

Predictions

This will be the second time a Grand Prix is raced at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, so there is not a whole lot of data to go off. However, as outlined above this is a power reliant track, with long straights and sweeping corners dominating the layout. Given this and the apparent dominance of the Ferrari engine, there’s only one outcome that can be predicted. Ferrari showed in Bahrain they have plenty of grunt, and the data suggests they were quicker than Red Bull through corners. Whilst some of this could be down to the lower downforce settings on the Red Bull, I still believe the Ferrari is close to the Red Bull in cornering. The difference will be made with their engine. 

Reliability also needs to be considered. There appears to be a decent chance one of the Red Bull’s will hit problems, and the even bigger chance that they may have to turn their engines down during the weekend to ensure they finish the race. So, if we believe Ferrari are most likely to win this weekend, we bet on Leclerc, right? The answer is probably, but looking at last year, Carlos Sainz was quicker than Leclerc out of the box at this circuit. He was quicker in FP1, FP2 and Q1, before crashing in Q2, ultimately leaving him 15th on the grid. Whilst Leclerc has had Carlos’ measure so far this year, the times have been tight. Yes, Leclerc probably takes pole, and probably wins. But don’t count out the Spaniard.

Expect to see Mercedes running their own race, in between the Red Bull / Ferrari battle and the rest of the midfield. I expect to see Mick Schumacher closer to his teammate Magnusson this weekend, but after his big crash at this circuit last year I can’t trust him enough to bet on it.

Expect Alpine and Alpha Tauri to be battling it out for the minor placings, and more pain for the other Mercedes powered cars in McLaren, Aston Martin, and Williams. Not good times for our Aussie Daniel Ricciardo.

Ultimately, the pressure is on at Red Bull. They must have a good weekend here, and at a track that saw 2 red flags, 1 safety car and 4 virtual safety cars last season, they will surely just be hoping for a double finish from their drivers. Damage limitation has started early.

Bets

Small stakes for this race, given the high likelihood of safety cars, red flags, and overall variance. The fastest in Friday practice is a chance each race to get a real long shot, with Pierre Gasly fastest in FP1 at Bahrain.

Carlos Sainz Pole Position ($7 at Sportsbet) 0.5 Units
Carlos Sainz Top 3 ($1.91 at NEDS) 2.2 Units
Ferrari double Top 3 finish ($2.40 at NEDS) 1 Unit
Alpine double top 10 finish  ($2.40 at NEDS) 1 Unit
Mercedes double top 6 finish  ($2.10 at NEDS) 2 Units
Kevin Magnusson Fastest in FP1 ($51 at Sportsbet) 0.3

Carlos Sainz Win

$8.00 (2 Units)

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