Which car will be the quicker at Imola, though? I believe both teams will come into the second race of the year with some trepidation. Red Bull because they failed to win in Bahrain with the fastest car and what if Mercedes close the gap further? The season is long but what if their early advantage turns out to be vanishingly small or even non-existent? Mercedes because perhaps their Bahrain win was down to Hamilton’s brilliance and the other Red Bull being out of the equation strategically? Of course, there is also the issue that Verstappen had in the race. Red Bull say that cost him several tenths per lap – no small amount.
We will obviously find out, but I expect the order – and the gaps between them – to be fairly similar to what we had at the first race. I expect Sergio Pérez to be a little stronger, too. Verstappen will be eager to make amends for his failure to win in Bahrain but has to be careful not to overdrive into mistakes. He may not need to, if the car is stronger, however.
McLaren will come on strong again here, too, and I expect a decent fight with Ferrari for the best-of-the-rest spots.
Podium prediction: 1st Verstappen 2nd Hamilton 3rd Pérez
What are the latest odds?
- Lewis Hamilton 5/4
- Max Verstappen 7/4
- Sergio Pérez 11/2
- Valtteri Bottas 33/1
- Charles Leclerc 40/1
- Lando Norris 40/1
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