Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Location: Imola, Italy
Course: Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (aka Imola)
Length: 4.909 KM
The sprint format returns for the first time on the 2022 calendar this weekend. For those who missed seeing the format in 2021, qualifying will be moved up a day from Saturday to Friday. The qualifying session will then set the starting grid for the sprint session, which is a normal race, just at a third of the distance of the traditional race held Sunday (21 laps). The sprint serves two purposes, the first being points awarded to drivers who finish in the top 8 (eight points to first place, and progressively fewer from there). The finishing order of the sprint also sets the starting grid Sunday.
Overall, the format creates extra excitement and more opportunity for something to go wrong. The sprint operates exactly the same as a race, just in condensed form, so crashes and other mishaps may occur. That could particularly affect betting selections and fantasy formats that lock at the start of a race weekend. DraftKings doesn't lock lineups until the race begins Sunday, so the extra session will not have as direct an impact in that format.
As for the teams and drivers, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari appear to be well ahead of the field at this point. While Red Bull has the pace to match, and perhaps even surpass Ferrari depending on track layout, the car has proven unreliable this season. Meanwhile, Mercedes has been off the pace through three races and can't be reasonably projected to contend for race wins without odd circumstances taking place ahead of it on the grid.
Key Stats at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari
Winners from Pole: 0
Winners from top top-5 starters: 2
Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton - 1:16.702
F1 has a lengthy history at the circuit, holding races at Imola from 1980 to 2006. There was then a long hiatus as the track underwent significant renovations due to safety concerns. Given that, both the track layout and field of drivers are significantly different from the historical races at the track. There have been no additional substantial changes to the track since the race returned in 2020.
Due to the aforementioned dangers associated with the layout at Imola, several chicanes have been added to slow the pace. In contrast to most of the other grand prix throughout the season, there is also only one DRS zone. Traditionally, there have been limited places for overtaking, with the primary area being on the start-finish straight. We could see something different in 2022 due to the new regulations.
DraftKings Value Picks (Based on 50K salary cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKIngs Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Constructor Values
Red Bull ($11,000)
Ferrari looks to be the heavy favorite due to Red Bull's aforementioned reliability issues. Specifically, Max Verstappen has two DNFs in three races this season. Leclerc/Ferrari is the obvious stack to begin the lineup as a result. If I were to move away from Leclerc to get a bit different in large-field contests, Verstappen is an obvious choice. So is Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
The driver standings suggest that Fernando Alonso hasn't been quick this season, as he has only two points. However, Alonso has gotten significant pace out of the car. During qualifying at Australia, he finished fifth in both Q1 and Q2, behind only the pair of Ferrari and Red Bull drivers.
Valtteri Bottas has finished in the points in two of three races, and he was forced to retire in the other grand prix. Alfa Romeo is much quicker than expected thanks at least in part to having the powerful Ferrari engine in their car. While Zhou Guanyu has not looked out of place in his first three races in F1, Bottas should have the advantage over his rookie teammate — a factor that is key to picking up DK points.
Nicholas Latifi has separated himself in the most undesirable way to start the calendar, logging two P16 finishes and a DNF. Alex Albon ($3,600) is almost certain to earn six points (beating teammate and classified finish), and for his price point that's enough. Don't expect him to finish in the top-10 again, as his Australian GP finish took a bold strategy that nearly wasn't enough.
Magnussen simply fits the build and I have no attachment to actually rostering him come Sunday. After an impressive finish at Bahrain, Haas has come back to earth, so it will be important to watch his pace early in the race weekend.
Best Bets (Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook)
Race Winner - Charles Leclerc (+105), Sergio Perez (+1000)
Podium Finish- Sergio Perez (+120)
Top-6 Finish - Fernando Alonso (+150), Valtteri Bottas (+3000)
Top-10 Finish- Yuki Tsunoda (+250)
Winning Constructor - Red Bull (+130), Alpine (+5000)
Winning Margin - Between 5 and 10 seconds (+275)
Fastest Lap - Max Verstappen (+175)
These odds will change significantly after both qualifying and the sprint race. There's not much value in betting Ferrari or Leclerc at this point, so I like a pivot to Sergio Perez. There has been chatter that the Red Bull is set up more to his liking than Verstappen's. Turning more to an evidence-based approach, we are only two races removed from Perez winning pole and having a legitimate chance to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix if not for an ill-timed yellow flag. He has the most favorable odds of any driver in a Ferrari or Red Bull, and the podium finish, in particular, is well within reach.
The more longshot team that I have an interest in is Alpine. It was noted that Alonso has been quick despite that not being reflected in the standings yet. Ocon has also been quick, but he has the results to show for it. A bet on Alpine as the constructor for a race win — or even podium — is a bet on chaos as there's little to no chance they move past Red Bull or Ferrari on pure pace. The sprint format did that at times last season, so if you want to bet on a long shot, do it early in the race weekend.