F1 tips: 3 value punts for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix this weekend

Tipster Robert Bentley's delivered his top tips as Sprint Qualifying returns at Imola

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All eyes turn to Italy this weekend as Imola hosts the first Sprint Qualifying event of the season. After a successful introduction in 2021, the Sprint race now carries greater importance with the points on offer increasing from last year.

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Ferrari will be looking for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to continue their early season dominance at their home track in what promises to be another high-speed event.

Emilia-Romagna GP, Sunday 24 April
TV: Sky Sports F1, 2pm

Max Verstappen to win Sprint Qualifying

After the first three races of the season, Ferrari are the team to beat. They sit comfortably at the top of the Constructors and Drivers Championship. Red Bull are their main rivals, with Mercedes struggling to match their title rivals’ speed, although with main driver Max Verstappen retiring twice already this year, their engine is not proving to be the most reliable.

Whilst their engine hasn’t proved it can consistently deliver across the race weekend, their speed will put them in the mix for the Sprint Qualifying event. Max Verstappen to win Sprint Qualifying is my first selection.

Max was the joint top-scorer across these events last season, and Red Bull will be looking to him to take advantage of the extra points on offer, to help close the gap on Ferrari. 

Sprint qualifying: Saturday 23 April, 3.30pm
Sky Sports F1

Alex Albon to finish in the points

Looking at the race itself now, one driver who will be riding a wave of confidence this weekend is Alex Albon. His recovery to pick up Williams’ first points of the season, after starting at the back of the grid at Albert Park, was nothing short of miraculous.

Alex Albon points finish looks a good outsider bet after his drive last weekend. The former Red Bull driver showed his class in Australia, in what will surely go down as one of the drives of the season. He will be looking to carry on that momentum on a track not too dissimilar to the one he impressed on last time out. 

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Lando Norris to finish in the top 6

There was more sign of improvement at Albert Park for the British trio of Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Lando Norris; as they all had a more successful trip to Australia than their Cricket counterparts. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were both aided by the retirement of Verstappen as they picked up P3 and P4 respectively, in what was the first podium of Russell’s Mercedes career.

Mercedes may feel that they lack the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull, but currently their consistency and reliability is keeping them in the hunt for the Constructors as they occupy 2nd place. Hamilton has been very vocal so far about his displeasure at the performance of the car and the word from Mercedes is that an enormous amount of work has gone into improvements for this weekend.

Don’t be surprised if we see Mercedes outperform expectations in Imola. Lando Norris also had a strong weekend in Australia, backing up his qualifying performance with a 5th place finish behind his fellow British drivers. The McLaren car looks to be better suited to the faster tracks, as shown by the performance in Saudi Arabia and Australia, therefore I expect Norris to perform well again this week.

Both him and Ricciardo scored points last time out and McLaren will be looking for both of them to back up that performance after a pretty disappointing start to the season for the team. With that in mind, for my final selection I’ll be using the new same podium multi feature and backing the treble of Lewis Hamilton, George Russell & Lando Norris all to Top 6 finish.   

Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix betting tips

Max Verstappen to win Sprint Qualifying
Alex Albon to finish in the points
Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Lando Norris to finish in the top 6

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