3 drivers who could outdrive their odds in the Italian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton won his fifth race of the season at Spa last week, as he continues his run to an inevitable championship. He is simply too good in front, and his Mercedes looks unstoppable.
It’s no surprise to see Hamilton at odds of -220 to win the Italian Grand Prix at Monza — a race he has won five times since 2012.
While Hamilton may have everything going for him, there is a far more interesting betting proposition going on behind him. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas is used to being the bridesmaid in the garage, but there are a host of challengers queued up behind him who could be worth a few each-way dollars in Italy.
Daniel Ricciardo +2800
The Aussie put in the best drive of his season to finish fourth at Spa and banged in the fastest lap to claim a bonus point in the standings. It was the first time Renault claimed a fastest lap in a Grand Prix since 2010 in Canada, back when Flo Rida was at the top of the charts and the iPhone 4 was the hottest phone on the market.
Ricciardo threatened to take third from Max Verstappen during the opening lap at Spa, as the pair went wheel to wheel. By the end, the Australian finished just three seconds behind the Dutchman.
Renault finished fourth and fifth in Monza last year, and Ricciardo has four top-five finishes in his last six races at the track.
He is a man in red-hot form, and, at a nice price, he could make his first podium appearance this season on Sunday.
Max Verstappen +550
Verstappen has managed to split the Mercedes pairing of Hamilton and Bottas three times this season, and he won at Silverstone to add to his tally. However, he is still 47 points behind Hamilton in the standings and unlikely to catch the leader.
That doesn’t mean the Dutch ace won’t put in another strong podium challenge in Monza.
He cruised to a third-place finish at Spa. Although, a couple decisions around the type of wing on the car and the choice not to run a two-stop strategy impacted how much of a challenge he could launch on the two Mercedes drivers.
The Italian Grand Prix hasn’t been particularly kind to Verstappen (his best finish is fifth in 2018), but he is on a career-best streak of six podium finishes in a row and will look to make that seven this weekend.
Sergio Perez +5000
At monster odds, I’m happy to forgive Sergio Perez and Racing Point for their disaster weekend in Belgium. Not only did the car seem to lose all its pace going into the weekend, but a bizarre decision not to pit during the safety car left Perez a sitting duck for the cars behind.
He dropped from fourth all the way to last, and although he clawed his way back to finish in 10th, it was a weekend to forget.
I’m happy to forgive and forget, as Racing Point eyes a better Grand Prix in Italy. The car is well suited to Monza, and no doubt the team will be looking for a podium finish, which Perez can deliver.
He has the tools to compete with the best. If Racing Point can eke out a little more performance in Milan, there’s every chance they could scoop their first podium of the season.