Formula 1 Betting Preview: French Grand Prix

By Patrick Moquin
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of United Kingdom races in the senna turns during the Montreal Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
© David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

With 12 races to go and two drivers competing for the championship, the French Grand Prix has as much chance as any to change the course of the season. The Paul Ricard Circuit is one of the most recognizable in the sport, known for its bright blue and red stripes adorning the track. Because of a low retirement rate in previous years, betting on upsets this weekend may be unwise, but the stakes will be high regardless.

Pre-Qualifying Co-Favorites: Max Verstappen (+130) and Charles Leclerc (+130)

They’re first and second in the points standings, and going into qualifying at the French Grand Prix, they’re both +130 to win the event. For most of the year, Charles Leclerc has been the only driver capable of challenging Max Verstappen for race wins under optimal conditions. But because of poor strategy decisions and reliability issues, Ferrari has not been able to keep Leclerc in contention consistently.

Now, the advantage Leclerc has is momentum, something he hasn’t had for some time. In the Austrian Grand Prix two weeks ago, the Ferrari car was simply superior to Verstappen’s Red Bull over the Red Bull Ring, and Leclerc won easily despite scary mechanical problems in the late stages. The French Grand Prix circuit doesn’t reward straight-line speed either, which could nullify Verstappen’s advantage further. Reliability may ultimately tell the tale.

Outsiders to Win: Lewis Hamilton (+900), George Russell (+1600), Sergio Perez (+1900), Carlos Sainz (+2400)

Many sources have speculated that Mercedes will have unprecedented pace in France this weekend, and the odds are reflecting this development. Both Mercedes drivers are more heavily favored to win the event than Red Bull and Ferrari’s secondary drivers, which would have been impossible to consider a month ago. 

In recent weeks, Lewis Hamilton has been outperforming his younger teammate, George Russell, earning three straight podiums in an improved car. The seven-time champion is always going to take money if his car is close to being competitive. It’s difficult to count Russell out completely at longer odds, however, as his consistency over the course of the season has been unrivaled by any driver on the grid in 2022.

At +1900 and +2400 odds, respectively, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz seem like very attractive long shots because they’re in the same cars as Verstappen and Leclerc. Sainz may seem especially interesting, as he would’ve finished second in Austria if not for a mechanical failure following a victory in the British Grand Prix. They’re underdogs for a reason, however. Neither driver has truly been able to compete with their teammates in recent weeks, and Perez has been particularly lacking after multiple incidents. Moreover, Sainz will have to deal with a grid penalty and will start from the back of the field.

Candidates for Points: Lando Norris (+14000), Fernando Alonso (+18000), Esteban Ocon (+20000), Mick Schumacher (+20000)

Beyond the top six, win candidates in the French Grand Prix are sparse. Many drivers have a chance of scoring points, however, and none have had better chances recently than McLaren driver Lando Norris and Alpine driver Fernando Alonso. 

Norris has been an extremely solid midfield driver all season and always deserves consideration for points. Meanwhile, Alonso has not had as much luck and several uncontrollable incidents have prevented him from scoring more. His pace has been outstanding in recent weeks though, making him difficult to leave out. Alonso’s teammate, Esteban Ocon, has done very well, albeit with better opportunities, to outscore his more experienced counterpart this season. He is also a solid contender.

Haas driver Mick Schumacher has not been as consistent as other drivers mentioned above, but he deserves bettors’ attention nonetheless. After a rocky start to the season, the fan favorite has finally begun to capitalize on what many have considered to be limitless potential, scoring points in two straight races alongside teammate Kevin Magnussen. Sometimes it’s best to ride the hot hand, though the pendulum of fortune also has a way of swinging suddenly in the world of Formula 1.

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