Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: McLaren Melbourne Momentum In Italy?

Written By Nicole Russo on April 20, 2022
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Odds

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix odds are out for the race set for April 24 in Imola. For the first time this season, fans will get to witness the sport’s sprint format.

According to the latest F1 odds, Charles Leclerc is the favorite to win his third race of the season. But when it comes to the middle of the pack, which cars look the best?

F1 Odds: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

(Eastern Time)
Charles Leclerc
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Max Verstappen
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Carlos Sainz Jr.
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Sergio Perez
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Lando Norris
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Lewis Hamilton
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Fernando Alonso
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George Russell
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Daniel Ricciardo
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Esteban Ocon
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Sprint Format Causes Some Teams To Delay Upgrades

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will be the first of three sprint races this season. With this scheduling format, teams only have one hour of practice before a qualifying session on Friday.

Drivers then have a second practice on Saturday, followed by a sprint race which will determine the starting grid for Sunday. The sprint also gives drivers the chance to earn up to an additional eight points this weekend toward the championship.

While many fans think the two weeks between the Melbourne GP and the Emilia Romagna GP are the perfect time to try and upgrade the cars, teams seem to feel differently.

Ferrari has said it will not upgrade the cars before the team heads to Imola because an hour of practice time is just not enough to assess new features and performance.

Toto Wolff To Skip Upgrades For Mercedes

Mercedes likely won’t upgrade its cars in time for Imola either. Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said that it doesn’t make sense to add upgrades when the team hasn’t solved the car’s outstanding issues after Melbourne.

“We’re just learning the car, we’re learning the tires. Nothing we did this weekend has unlocked the aerodynamic potential or has reduced the bouncing, we’re still in the same place. That’s why it doesn’t make any sense to bring updates because you’re confusing yourself even more. Maybe it’s even the fact that the more downforce you bring, the worse the bouncing gets. So we are still learning.

While Mercedes has snagged some podiums this season, based on the cars’ lap times, it is more of a middle-of-the-pack team. Hamilton was left out of a fight for third in Melbourne due to overheating issues, and porpoising continues to prevent Mercedes from reaching the car’s top potential.

Red Bull has also dealt with a slew of reliability issues. Verstappen hasn’t even finished two of the three races this season.

When you look at reliability, speed, and performance, it’s no shock Leclerc is the favorite in the eyes of oddsmakers.

Is McLaren On The Path To F1 Success?

Leclerc has built quite a lead for himself, but there is still a lot of battling going on between cars in the middle of the pack.

McLaren capitalized on every chance they got in Australia. Both Norris and Ricciardo made it into Q3 and finished top-six in the race. The car seemed totally different car than what we saw in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

However, Norris doesn’t seem convinced this success will last or that the car is any better.

He credits almost all of the team’s success in Melbourne to the track, commenting that the team was able to extract a little more performance out of the car, but 80% of the team’s success in Melbourne came from the car’s suitability to the track.

If that’s the case, things won’t look the same in Imola. The track is much different than Melbourne’s.

One team that wasn’t able to capitalize on chances was Alpine. Everything was looking great for the team in Melbourne…until it wasn’t. Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon both looked extremely fast in practice and qualifying, with both cars making it into Q3.

Alonso appeared to be in the fight for pole position until he went off the track in Turn 11, ending his impressive lap early. He was tenth on the grid for the race on Sunday, but the timing of the safety car prevented him from getting into the points.

Alpine was left ruminating on what could have been while McLaren seized opportunities that came their way.

Alonso (-125) vs. Norris head-to-head in Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Odds

While it was exciting to see McLaren back in the points, it’s disheartening to hear Norris say the car is still the same as it was in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

It’s hard to ignore Alpine’s speed heading into Imola. While the car has dealt with some reliability issues, they seem to be minor.

The track in Imola likely won’t favor McLaren as much as the track in Melbourne did. I think this is the race where Alonso breaks through and leads the teams in the middle of the pack.

I like him as a slight favorite (-125) over Lando Norris at BetMGM Sportsbook for the Emilio Romagna Grand Prix.

Photo by Associated Press
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Nicole Russo

Nicole Russo is the Brand Content Strategist for TheLines.com. Previously, she covered the gambling industries in Tennessee and Indiana as a content editor for PlayTenn.com and PlayIndiana.com. She comes from the world of poker, leading the marketing efforts for online poker in Nevada and New Jersey with the WSOP. Russo also assisted with the marketing efforts for the Caesars Sportsbook launch in 2019.

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