Spanish F1 Grand Prix 2022: Odds, Preview and Top Storylines

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Spanish F1 Grand Prix 2022: Odds, Preview and Top Storylines

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco steers his car during the third practice session at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Saturday, May 21, 2022. The Formula One race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen will continue their fight for the Formula 1 drivers’ championship at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday. 

The two drivers have traded wins over the first five races of the F1 season. Verstappen owns three victories, and Leclerc finished first on two occasions. 

The pair of championship favorites are expected to compete for the win in Barcelona on Sunday. Leclerc put his Ferrari in pole position during Saturday’s qualifying session, while Verstappen’s Red Bull car landed second on the grid. 

Their head-to-head showdown is far from the only notable storyline in play, however. 

Mercedes has struggled to start the season but appeared to have gained more speed in qualifying. George Russell landed fourth on the grid, and Lewis Hamilton sits in sixth. Mercedes is third in the constructor’s championship behind Ferrari and Red Bull despite its rocky start, although there is a 56-point gap to Red Bull in second.

The big question around the upcoming two weeks of racing in Spain and at Monaco is whether or not Mercedes’ improvements are enough to help it challenge for wins and podium finishes alongside Ferrari and Red Bull.

Spanish Grand Prix Info

Date: Sunday, May 22

Start Time: 9 a.m. ET

TV: ESPN2

Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app

Race Odds

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Max Verstappen (-110; bet $110 to win $100)

Charles Leclerc (+155; bet $100 to win $155) 

Carlos Sainz (+1200)

George Russell (+1600)

Lewis Hamilton (+1800)

Sergio Perez (+2200) 

Top Storylines to Watch

Can Anyone Break Up the Leclerc-Verstappen Dominance? 

Not even the teammates of Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen have been able to challenge the two title favorites over the first five races of the season. 

Verstappen is coming off consecutive victories at Imola and Miami. He also won in Saudi Arabia in the second race of the year. The Red Bull driver did not finish in the other two races in Bahrain and Austraila, and Leclerc took first in those events. 

Leclerc has finished in either first or second place in four of the five events. A bad break in strategy and then a spin following an overly aggressive move at Imola cost him a podium spot, and he landed in sixth place. 

Leclerc and Verstappen’s teammates, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, may serve as the biggest threats to the championship hopefuls. 

Sainz is one of two Spaniards racing in his home Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso is the other, but his Alpine-Renault has struggled to begin the season.

Sainz owns three podium finishes in 2022 but did not finish in the other two races. Perez either landed in second or fourth place in each of the last four events following an 18th-place finish in Bahrain after a car failure on the last lap. 

Unless Sainz or Perez benefit from a different strategy, or catch Leclerc and Verstappen sleeping on the start, the duo will likely be fighting it out for the last spot on the podium. 

Does Mercedes Have Enough Power To Contend With Red Bull and Ferrari? 

Mercedes has not been in the upper echelon of the Formula 1 table through five races. 

George Russell has been a constant fixture in the top five, but he only has one podium finish. 

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton struggled at Imola and in Saudi Arabia. He rebounded with a sixth-place run in Miami, but that is still not up to the lofty standards he has set inside the Mercedes in years past, included a second-place overall finish last season. 

Russell and Hamilton showed positive signs during qualifying on Saturday, though, as they landed in fourth and sixth place on the grid. 

Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari were the only teams to place drivers on the first three rows of the starting grid. 

The strong qualifying runs may be indicators for what’s to come for Mercedes on Sunday, when the goal should be for Russell and Hamilton to challenge for podium finishes. 

Mercedes might not have enough power to catch the two best cars on the circuit yet, but Sunday could help them close the gap and set up chances to win in the coming weeks at Monaco, Azerbaijan and Canada. 

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