Will Ferrari Dominate at Imola?

Grace Crispin

Will Ferrari Dominate at Imola?

Ferrari sit top of both the World Driver’s Championship standings and the Constructors Championship standings for the trip to their native Italy for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc, who leads the WDC and Carlos Sainz, who occupies third after a DNF in Australia last round, look to dominate on home soil.

Imola is hosting one of the three sprint races in Formula One this year, with the others taking place at the Austrian Grand Prix and Interlagos in Brazil. The sprint resides in the usual qualifying slot on Saturday. A normal qualifying on the Friday of a race weekend will determine the grid for the sprint, with the driver who wins pole in Q3 holding it for the Grand Prix as well. The top eight of the sprint will be awarded points (from eight points down to one).

With Spanish driver Carlos Sainz signing for another two years with the Scuderia, keeping him in red until 2024, the Prancing Horse will want to keep this momentum going into the race weekend.

F1 2022 Imola GP RABS/Specials

skybet betting tip

LECLERC PODIUM & RUSSELL TOP 6 FINISH @ 11/10

Ferrari’s Strong Start

Early reports before the start of the 2022 Formula One season suggested that Ferrari had adapted best to the new regulations and were poised for a comeback. The Prancing Horse haven’t won a WDC since Kimi Raikkonen won in 2007, despite a somewhat close call for Sebastian Vettel in 2017, falling short of Lewis Hamilton by 46 points.

As for the Constructors Championship, Ferrari secured best of the rest behind the Mercedes and Red Bull fight for the title. However, Ferrari were adrift from the top two by a staggering 262 points and the year before The Prancing Horse were an unfamiliar sixth in the standings.

Prior struggles behind them, Ferrari look ready to compete with the very best this season. Monégasque driver Charles Leclerc has finished either P1 or P2 in all three of the races this season, winning 71 points. Behind Nico Rosberg in his championship-winning season in 2016 (75 points), this is the most points a driver has picked up after the first three races.

Australia was also memorable for Leclerc as he picked his career first Grand Slam (Chelem). A Grand Slam is when a driver wins pole, fastest lap and wins the Grand Prix while leading every single lap. There have only been 64 Grand Slams in Formula One history, and only 26 drivers have achieved at least one. Leclerc’s Grand Slam was the first since his championship rival Max Verstappen’s in Austria last year.

Sainz also had success in the opening two rounds of the season, securing a 1-2 for Ferrari at the season opener in Bahrain and a P3 in Saudi Arabia. However, Australia was less than ideal for the Spaniard. Sainz’s flying lap wasn’t counted as Fernando Alonso’s crash in Q3 happened seconds before Sainz crossed the finish line. This meant that Sainz would have to start from ninth.

Sainz’s steering wheel having to be replaced just before the formation lap and the temperature of his hard tyres compounded the Spaniard’s misery as he spun out at Albert Park on only the second lap.

Despite Sainz’s admittedly disastrous time in Australia, both him and Ferrari are still in a very good place going into Imola.

F1 2022 Imola GP RABS/Specials

skybet betting tip

LECLERC & SAINZ PODIUM, GASLY TOP 6, MAGNUSSEN & TSUNODA POINTS @ 66/1

Ferrari's Record at Imola

Imola, in all of its incarnations, has historically been a very successful track for Ferrari. Tied with Williams, Ferrari have the most wins at the Autodromo Internazionale de Enzo e Dino Ferrari with eight. In fact, the driver with the most wins at Imola is legendary Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher who has seven to his name.

However, since its return to the F1 calendar in 2020, no Ferrari driver has finished on the podium. Charles Leclerc finished P5 in 2020 with his teammate Sebastian Vettel finishing out of the points in 12th. But in 2021, Leclerc and Sainz did secure a P4 and P5 respectively, winning a good haul of points for The Prancing Horse.

The sprint race is another chance for points to strengthen both the WDC and WCC campaigns. In the three sprint races last season, Ferrari had some success. Sainz came third in Sao Paulo and seventh at Monza, but finished in 11th outside of the points in Silverstone, winning one point.

Leclerc finished fourth at Silverstone, sixth in Monza and seventh in Sao Paulo. Because of the old scoring system used in the 2021 season, this meant that Leclerc picked up zero points, as only the podium places were awarded points.

Ferrari will be hoping that both Leclerc and Sainz can score points in the sprint and continue The Prancing Horse’s historic success at Imola.

F1 2022 Imola GP RABS/Specials

skybet betting tip

LECLERC, SAINZ & VERSTAPPEN PODIUM, RUSSELL TOP 6 & OCON POINTS @ 6/1

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