The 2022 Formula 1 season has officially passed the halfway point, with the summer break and impending technical directives two races away. Ferrari will be looking to maintain their momentum and winning ways during round 12 of the F1 2022 season, The French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Red Bull needs to get on top of tire degradation issues that compromised their race pace in Austria. For their part, Mercedes are optimistic that they’ve made performance progress and believe Circuit Paul Ricard’s characteristics suit the W-13. Alpine will be looking for a strong performance from free practice 1 in their home Grand Prix.
One thing is for sure: the European heat wave will affect tire degradation, and the teams will have their hands full keeping the cars from overheating.
Circuit Paul Ricard and the French Grand Prix
Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France, hosted its first Grand Prix in 1971. One lap around Paul Ricard’s Grand Prix circuit configuration has 15 turns over 3.63 miles (5.842 km), with the Grand Prix totaling 192.393 miles (309.626 km) over 53 laps. Sebastian Vettel holds the current official lap record (set in a Grand Prix) with a 1:32.740 in the Ferrari SF90 from 2019. While Lewis Hamilton holds the outright fastest lap on Circuit Paul Ricard with a 1:28.319, set in Qualifying 3 in the double World Championship winning Mercedes W10 of 2019.
Ferrari’s weekend: Upgrades and Penalties
Potential reliability concerns notwithstanding, Ferrari will undoubtedly have one of their F1-75s in the fight at the front. To aid Charles Leclerc’s pursuit of consecutive victories and climb in the Driver’s World Championship standings, Ferrari has brought a new floor to the French Grand Prix. As of publication, free practice one is hours away, but Ferrari will be hoping the upgraded floor provides the performance they need to continue their pursuit of World Championships in 2022.
You may be thinking, “Ferrari has two cars on the grid! What about Carlos Sainz?” After Sainz’s fiery engine failure in Austria and Ferrari’s season-long engine reliability issues, Sainz will likely be taking a grid penalty for requiring his 4th engine of 2022. This means Sainz will be focusing on a recovery drive from the start of the French Grand Prix weekend. He’ll likely need to pass the home race heroes Alpine and a potentially strong Mercedes duo to get into the fight at the front, and at least one Red Bull if Sainz wants to return to the podium.
Qualifying Odds and Predictions
Charles Leclerc is again (and rightfully) the betting favorite for the French Grand Prix, currently listed at 5/4, while World Driver’s Championship leader Max Verstappen is listed at 16/11. Sainz’s betting odds remain strong for qualifying, listed at 13/1, as his impending Grid penalties will not affect his potential to be the fastest qualifier.
We’re not sure if the optimism at Mercedes for a strong weekend has been overly promoted by Formula 1 media, or if Mercedes have made the gains in performance they believe they have. We do know that the W-13 has looked strong at Catalunya and Silverstone – two tracks sharing similarities to Circuit Paul Ricard that favor Mercedes. This is reflected in Lewis Hamilton’s betting odds for the French Grand Prix. Hamilton is listed at 10/1 to be the fastest qualifier and 9/1 to win the French Grand Prix.
Our Pick for the fastest qualifier: Charles Leclerc
A potential surprise pick for the fastest qualifier: George Russel (11/1)
French Grand Prix Odds and Predictions
The betting population’s faith in Mercedes is reflected in their odds for the Grand Prix on Sunday: both Hamilton (9/1) and Russell (14/1) are listed as betting favorites over Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (16/1). Ferrari’s Leclerc is listed at 17/10, while Red Bull’s Verstappen is the favorite at 13/10.
Ferrari’s season-long engine reliability issues make us wary of picking Ferrari to win, even though Leclerc has a very excellent chance of winning the French Grand Prix. Smart and safe money is to pick Verstappen to win. We’re going to get a little wild (and intentionally fall into the Mercedes hype) and pick a Mercedes driver to finally win a Grand Prix in 2022.
Our Pick for the top 6 (with odds for a top 6 finish):
P1 – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (2/7)
P2 – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (1/4)
P3 – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (1/4)
P4 – Mercedes’ George Russell (1/3)
P5 – Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (2/7)
P6 – Our Hero, the Wiley Ol’ Campaigner Alpine’s Fernando Alonso (13/10)
One last pick….
We think that Haas and Alpine are primed for a double points finish during the French Grand Prix. Haas is listed at 11/4 for double points finish, while Alpine is listed at 5/6. Considering home race mojo and recent runs of form, both Haas and Alpine having points-scoring weekends seems likely.
The French Grand Prix takes place from Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France, from July 22–July 24th.