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Formula 1 Italian GP

F1 Form Guide: Italian Grand Prix

As F1 heads to its fastest track this weekend, Red Bull should dominate again but the order behind could shuffle.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Max Verstappen is 1/4 to win at Monza and claim a record breaking tenth consecutive victory – and considering his Red Bull car’s straight-line advantage at a track where speed is king, that looks very likely indeed.

Monza holds the record for the fastest ever F1 race and it rewards any car with efficient downforce and a strong engine. That is exactly what Red Bull has, so a 1-2 here – at odds of 4/5 – is more likely than anywhere.

However, look further down the order and there could be some opportunities to be had with the knowledge of which cars should suit the circuit best.

POLE PERFORMANCE

Although Verstappen has won the last nine races, he has ‘only’ been on pole in six of them! If there is any chance of him being beaten this weekend, then, it is probably on Saturday afternoon.

Those other three poles went to Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and, most significantly, Charles Leclerc in Spa the race before last. Spa also suits cars with good straight-line speed, so the Monegasque driver could have a chance.

Ferrari struggled last time out at Zandvoort, but that was a twisty track whereas this circuit plays on its straight-line strengths and Leclerc was on pole here last year with Sainz in third.

It could do with pleasing its home fans, so team orders could also seek to use the extra benefit of slipstreaming to secure what would be a popular pole – and there is value to be had with Leclerc at 9-1 and Sainz 18-1.

PODIUM CHALLENGERS

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42

Photo by: DPPI

Despite the high likelihood of a Red Bull victory, Monza has seen five different winners in the last five years. Verstappen won last year, but Hamilton won in 2018, Leclerc in 2019, Pierre Gasly in 2020 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2021.

As mentioned, the key to Monza success is top speed and Red Bull was fastest at the other high-speed track of Spa. Mercedes and Ferrari were both close, but DRS gained Red Bull 12.7mph, putting it significantly ahead.

Ferrari and Mercedes are comparable on top speeds, but at Spa the Italian team enjoyed similar gains to Red Bull with the wing open, so that should help it in the battle.

It is unlikely, but if anyone can break Verstappen’s run, it is likely to be a Ferrari or Mercedes – and Hamilton has won a record-equalling five times at Monza. He is good value at 16/1 for the win while Leclerc is potentially even better at 34/1.

Sergio Perez has spent a lot of this year fighting through the field for one reason or another, but he has still been on the podium more often than not, with seven top three finishes. That DRS should help him climb up there again.

Leclerc is less favoured than Hamilton, McLaren’s Lando Norris or Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso for that third spot on the podium – making his 9/5 the best value of the front-runners, with Sainz at an enticing 28/5.

POINTS PLAYERS

The Safety Car Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, 1st position, over the line for victory ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, 2nd position

The Safety Car Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, 1st position, over the line for victory ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, 2nd position

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

McLaren has been up and down this season, and much of that is down to circuit suitability. It was around 5mph slower than Ferrari or Mercedes at Spa and with a less effective DRS it could be a sitting duck in the battle for points.

Rain could be to its benefit, but in dry conditions Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin are likely better bets for the top six places – but odds of 3/10 for Hamilton and 67-100 for Russell are not great value. Sainz is best at 27/25.

Ferrari is at 9/4 and Mercedes at 5/6 to get both their cars in the top six, but further back, the top 10 points finishers could be defined by who has the car and the capability to overtake the best.

Alonso has scored points in every race this season, only three times finishing outside the top six. He is 3/10 for another top six but if team-mate Lance Stroll can get points too – as he has in eight races – Aston is 6/5 for double points.

Pierre Gasly finished on the podium at the last race and is 8/1 to be in the top six at Monza. Given Alpine was eighth and 11th at Spa and took a double-points finish at the last race, its odds of 12/5 for double points look interesting.

Alex Albon, who has scored points in three of the last six races, is at 23/50 to do so again. He has good straight-line speed in his Williams, but there are plenty of others at better value around him who will be chasing those spots.

His team-mate Logan Sargeant, for example, showed good form at the last race and is at 14/5 for points, while Zhou Guanyu at 23/5 and Yuki Tsunoda – who scored at Spa – at 5/1 are both good overtakers and could make the points.

CHANCE CHOICES

Last year saw a higher-than-average four cars retire from the race, with a double failure for Aston Martin. Haas is at 6/1 to be the first team to retire a car this time, with Alpha Tauri next at 32/5 and Alpine at 33/5.

Kevin Magnussen’s Haas was the last classified finisher last year and is at 7/2 to repeat that feat. AlphaTauri's rookie newcomer Liam Lawson, however, is the favourite to fail at 10/1 to retire first and 3/1 to be the last classified finisher.

The first car to stop in the pits is another area where value can be found and typically reflects the drivers who are most likely to be in first lap incidents. Odds are fairly open, however, from 11/1 to 25/1, so take your pick.

For more betting odds and the latest markets on the Dutch Grand Prix and all Formula 1 races, head over to stake.com

NOTE: Odds correct at time of writing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2nd position, George Russell, Mercedes AMG, 3rd position, celebrate on the podium

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2nd position, George Russell, Mercedes AMG, 3rd position, celebrate on the podium

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

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