F1 Tips: 9/1 shout tops our Spanish Grand Prix best bets

Paddy Power's Rob Bentley delivers his verdict.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

After the glitz and glamour across the Atlantic, Formula One returns to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix, the home race of Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. With the Spanish Grand Prix usually earmarked as the race for major upgrades across the field, could it be a weekend to expect the unexpected out on the track?

I wouldn’t be so sure of it. Its very difficult to look past the two breakaway leaders when it comes to who will be atop the podium come Sunday. Max Verstappen broke the pattern of trading race wins with Charles Leclerc in Miami by making it two wins in a row, continuing his record of having won every race in which he has finished this year. Red Bull’s reliability issues seem to be a thing of the past and Ferrari will have their work cut out if they are to maintain their lead in the Drivers and Constructors Championship. 

Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix
Sunday, May 22: 2pm
Sky Sports F1

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Sergio Perez to set the fastest lap

Looking at the fastest lap market, whilst I expect Verstappen and Leclerc to be setting the pace at throughout, with their price I’ll be looking elsewhere. That battle could go down to the final lap and they could be outpaced in the closing stages by someone on a fresh set of tyres. So, looking beyond the front two I think Sergio Perez to set the fastest lap is a good shout.

It’s hard to look past either of the two leading cars as they are just that much better than the others, and Red Bull look to have had the better of Ferrari when it comes to speed. Yes, Ferrari have some upgrades on the way but as previously mentioned, I don’t think it will make a world of difference. Perez will be hoping the race lends itself to that fresh tyre strategy for the closing stages, in order to secure the bonus point.   

Sergio Perez

Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu & Daniel Ricciardo to Finish in the top 6

The recent form of Alpha Romeo, and in particular Valtteri Bottas, has surprised everyone. The upgrades introduced at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix have produced a well-rounded car which was arguably quicker than Mercedes during the last two races. Valtteri Bottas will be looking to challenge the Top 6 once again, but for this selection I will be using him in a same podium multi bet in the Points Finish markets as my banker.

Joining him in the treble is his team-mate, Zhou Guanyu. As mentioned, the upgrades to the Alpha Romeo have put it at the front of the middle pack. To put it bluntly, Zhou has been poor this season with just one point to his name so far from the first race in Bahrain, but as Bottas has shown, he has the car to be competing and earning points each race weekend. With two 11th place finishes already this season, I’m backing him to go at least one better in Spain.

Rounding off the treble is a driver in need of some Points, Daniel Ricciardo. As his team-mate Lando Norris continues to improve, bar a hiccup in Miami, Daniel has struggled. With recent noise that his future at McLaren could be up in the air he’s in need of a drive to not only show McLaren what he’s capable of, but also potential suitors for next season. Despite only sitting on 11 points, Ricciardo is still considered one of the best drivers on the circuit, a Points Finish here is very achievable for a man of his calibre.  

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Lewis Hamilton to finish on the Podium

My final prediction is somewhat contradictory to what I’ve said previously. I’m going with Lewis Hamilton to finish on the Podium. I know I said to not expect the upgrades to cause drastic changes to the make-up of the field but hear me out. Mercedes will be unveiling some vital upgrades to their car this weekend and Hamilton has won this race not once, not twice, but a joint record of six times! As if that wasn’t a sign that he could do this race in his sleep, it’s also the track where pre-season testing happens.

There won’t be a track which drivers know better than this on the circuit. What better place to launch a comeback for the former World Champion? Who knows, maybe it’s the romantic in me that also thought Tiger Woods had a shot at the Masters, but if you wanted to stay away from a short-priced favourite I think Lewis is worth a shot.

Spanish Grand Prix tips

Sergio Perez to set the fastest lap
TREBLE: Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu & Daniel Ricciardo Top 10 finish
Lewis Hamilton to finish on the Podium

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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