Carlos Sainz and the three other drivers who beat Max Verstappen to the checkered flag in Singapore have confirmed one thing we were beginning to doubt, the current F1 World Champion and 2023 Champion-elect is beatable!
Could the recent results at the Marina Bay Street Circuit repeat themselves when F1 goes again at Suzuka in Japan on Sunday, 24 September?
According to many sportsbooks, it’s unlikely there will be a repeat of Ferrari’s winning Singapore result and Red Bull’s rare “failure”. Bookies have Max Verstappen as the 3/10 favorite to win the Japanese Grand Prix, and at 4/9 to qualify on pole.
While these odds won’t offer much of a payout if Verstappen does win, reloads, welcome bonuses, and sports betting promotions add tons of value and will likely become available before the race begins (source: https://thesportsdaily.com/casino-apps/).
It seems Red Bull’s slight blip suffered at Marina Beach is already close to forgotten by bookies. Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Pérez, is next best according to the oddsmakers at 12/1. The bookies do offer a little encouragement to the other teams, though.
Bookmakers favor McLaren’s Lando Norris, after an excellent podium finish in Singapore, ahead of Red Bull’s Mexican driver in qualifying. Odds of 9/1 are on offer for Norris, while he’s also third-favorite for the Grand Prix itself, with odds of 16/1.
Among the other drivers, last weekend’s winner Carlos Sainz and his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc both have odds of 20/1 to win in Japan. Although Ferrari has shown more competitive signs recently, a lack of consistency and reliability means odds on its drivers are still attractive.
Next best in the odds are the Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. The seven-time World Champion Hamilton (22/1) and Russell (25/1) have experienced, first-hand, the downturn in both fortune and competitiveness of the once-dominant Mercedes.
How Does the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix Help in Predicting This Year’s Winner?
Torrential rains greeted drivers at last year’s Suzuka race. The race was red-flagged as early as the 2nd lap when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz aquaplaned into a barrier. This accident, along with a coming-together between Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen, meant a delay of over two hours. The Grand Prix then resumed in better conditions.
Due to the prolonged delay, drivers only completed 28 of the scheduled 53 laps. Pole-sitter Max Verstappen took the early checkered flag ahead of fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez in second place. Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari finished in the last podium position. Verstappen’s victory in Japan also secured the Dutchman his first World Championship.
The surprise of the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix weekend was the performance of Esteban Ocon in the Alpine-Renault. The Frenchman qualified in fifth, two positions ahead of his then-teammate Fernando Alonso and finished the race a position higher. Ocon clearly enjoys Suzuka, and with odds of 250/1 on offer, could be worth a podium finish wager this year.
Predicted weather conditions for this year’s Japanese Grand Prix couldn’t differ more from last year’s. According to the weatherman, bright sunshine will bathe Suzuka, with temperatures hitting 28 degrees Celsius. As such, last year’s result in the extreme wet won’t give many clues on this year’s winner.
What does, though, is the manner of Max Verstappen’s victory last year. The Flying Dutchman finished the race over 27 seconds ahead of his partner in a much-shortened race. With the next seven finishers within about 20 seconds of each other, Verstappen’s dominance at Suzuka last year is evident.
Coupled with his string of dominant performances this season, the World Champion would have to do something wrong not to claim his 13th win of 2023. Or, his Red Bull would have to experience technical problems. As race results show, the likelihood of this happening is miniscule.
Everything points to a Red Bull one-two finish in Japan. McLaren’s recent speed makes Lando Norris’s a contender for a podium finish. Ferrari should build on its improvement in reliability and Sainz and Leclerc are good bets for the major placings. Mercedes will be there and there abouts too, but sadly the early good showings of the Aston Martins tend to be fading.
And watch Esteban Ocon potentially surprise a few people again.