Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.
The 2022 Formula 1 season kicked off in dramatic fashion last weekend as Charles Leclerc’s victory confirmed suspicions that Ferrari are back to the top, while a double DNF for Red Bull saw Max Verstappen’s defence of the World Drivers Championship get off to the worst possible start.
Next stop on the 23-race calendar is Saudi Arabia and, after an incident-filled inaugural race in Jeddah last season, we can expect another exciting Grand Prix on Sunday.
Jeddah is billed as the fastest street circuit in Formula 1 and, with cars averaging around 160 miles per hour around the 3.8-mile track, it wasn’t exactly a surprise to see a host of crashes, one safety car and two red flags back in December.
Saudi Arabia Grand Prix race predictions
15/1 Race match bet accumulator
Alex Albon to beat Nicholas Latifi
Albon qualified over a second ahead of his teammate on Saturday and was three places above Latifi in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Latifi finished below his teammate in 14 of the 17 races in which both cars finished the race last season.
Charles Leclerc to beat Carlos Sainz
Charles Leclerc was in a class of his own in Bahrain last weekend and managed to briefly take provisional pole from Sainz by almost two-tenths on Saturday before Sergio Perez stole the top spot. I don’t expect the two Ferraris to fight one another too hard and the Monegasque driver shouldn’t face too many issues from his teammate.
Esteban Ocon to beat Fernando Alonso
Ocon was excellent in last season’s inaugural Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, even managing to spent a while battling with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen before eventually finishing fourth. Alonso, by contrast, finished 13th and has lost the teammate battle in three of the last five races.
Lance Stroll to beat Nico Hulkenberg
Stroll is far from the most highly-rated driver on the grid but Nico Hulkenberg – standing in for the Covid-stricken Sebastian Vettel – doesn’t seem to have a handle on the Aston Martin. He starts 17th compared to Stroll’s 13th on Sunday and was the last driver to pass the chequered flag in Bahrain, while Stroll took a respectable 12th place.
Lando Norris to beat Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren’s 2022 issues continued on Saturday but Lando Norris still has the edge in the teammate battle. He starts three places ahead of Ricciardo and finished ahead of the Aussie in 14 of the 20 races in which both cars finished the Grand Prix last season.
George Russell to beat Lewis Hamilton
It’s not often you back against Hamilton in the teammate battle but after a failed experiment the seven-time world champion will start 15th on the grid and with the Mercedes still majorly off the pace it’s hard to see him cutting through the field in the same way he did in Brazil last season. That leaves Russell nine placed ahead of his fellow Brit and it’s unlikely this troubled Mercedes can make up the ground.
Sergio Perez to beat Max Verstappen
Make no mistake, if the two Red Bull drivers were lined up next to one another on the grid the team would prioritise Verstappen in a heartbeat but with two Ferraris between them Perez has a great chance of finishing ahead of his teammate for just the fourth time, all of which came due to Verstappen retirements. The reigning World Drivers Champion could struggle to pass the two cars ahead of him to get behind Perez and it’s unlikely Red Bull will compromise Perez’s race too much at this early stage of the season.
Pierre Gasly to beat Yuki Tsunoda
Tsunoda will line up last on the grid after failing to complete a lap in qualifying and with Gasly in ninth it’s hard to see the Japanese driver getting anywhere close to challenging his teammate. Tsunoda only beat Gasly in three of the 17 races in which both AlphaTauris were classified last year and was running three places below him before Gasly’s retirement last weekend.
Valtteri Bottas to beat Guanyu Zhou
Guanyu Zhou proved many doubters wrong with a strong tenth-place finish last weekend but Valtteri Bottas is an experienced operator and has made an incredible start to life at Alfa Romeo. He finished sixth in Bahrain and will line up sixth on the grid in Jeddah, while Zhou is in 12th.
*Grand Prix predictions were published prior to qualifying. Odds may have changed.
Both Ferraris on the podium at 11/10
Ferrari and Red Bull are undoubtedly the teams to beat at this early stage of the season and, barring any incidents or failures, that leaves just four drivers competing for the three podium spots on merit.
Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen were in a league of their own last week until Verstappen’s fuel pressure issue but Carlos Sainz – who stood on four podiums last season – looks to have the beating of Sergio Perez in the Red Bull.
Interestingly, Sainz – after qualifying third and finishing second – thought he had more to give last weekend so I would expect both Ferraris to be in the fight on Sunday.
Both Alfa Romeo cars to finish in the points at 5/2
Valtteri Bottas’s move from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo could prove one of the coups of the season if Bahrain was anything to go by.
The Finn qualified in sixth and despite a poor start managed to wrestle back to a sixth-place finish thanks to a host of late retirements, and Jeddah is certainly somewhere we could see plenty of retirements.
Five of the 20 cars to start last year’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix failed to finish the race after collisions and, with a similar outcome expected this time around, that opens the door for some fringe drivers to earn some valuable points.
Bottas is clearly the faster driver of the two Alfa Romeo seats but Guanyu Zhou proved a lot of doubters wrong in his debut F1 race last weekend.
Thought of by some as a pure pay driver, Zhou ended up at the back of the pack after anti-stall issues on the first lap but he fought his way back through the field valiantly to finish in tenth, securing a double-points finish for Alfa.
The young Chinese driver will have taken a lot of confidence from that and Bottas going third-fastest in Practice One in Saudi Arabia shows that this Alfa has the pace to be in the points regularly.
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