Formula 1: Two big changes made after the Spanish Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) /

Max Verstappen took the lead of the Formula 1 driver standings with his third consecutive win and Charles Leclerc’s first retirement of 2022.

After ruining two would-be runner-up finishes for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Bahrain and Australia earlier in the 2022 Formula 1 season, reliability issues struck Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for the first time this year in Spain.

Leclerc dominated the race from the pole position, and his lead grew when Verstappen spun in turn four of the 16-turn, 2.892-mile (4.654-kilometer) Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya road course.

He was on pace to cruise to a third victory of the season and extend his lead over Verstappen in the driver standings. But on lap 28 of 66, an engine issue forced him to retire.

Despite DRS issues which cost him valuable time behind the slower Mercedes of George Russell, Verstappen’s pace in clean air proved to be too much in the long run.

While the team orders issued to teammate Sergio Perez were a subject of controversy, Verstappen was on a different strategy and much quicker than his teammate when they met on the track with 17 laps remaining.

The reigning world champion went on to claim his fourth win in the last five races, and Leclerc’s retirement promoted Verstappen to the lead of the standings.

Since stating that he had no reason to think about winning the world championship in 2022 after his second retirement in three races to open up the season, Verstappen has now scored 85 of a maximum 86 points. Leclerc has scored only 33 and has just one top five finish during that span. As a result, a 46-point Leclerc lead has become a six-point Verstappen lead.

Verstappen is now a bigger favorite to win the world championship than he had been, and he made a considerable jump.

Following the first two wins of his current three-race winning streak, he and Leclerc were practically level.

But now Verstappen is listed by WynnBET at -150 (bet $150 to win $100), and Leclerc is listed at +165 (bet $100 to win $165).

But an even more intriguing change is the fact that, even though both Mercedes drivers lost ground to Verstappen in the standings yet again, they both saw their odds jump significantly after a race weekend in which they showed promising pace.

Russell led the first laps for Mercedes since Hamilton was passed by Verstappen on the final lap of the 2021 season, and he finished on the podium behind a Red Bull 1-2 in third place, giving him five consecutive finishes ahead of Hamilton and six straight top five finishes to open up the season.

Hamilton, meanwhile, rallied from opening lap contact and a punctured tire, which caused an unplanned pit stop, to finish in fifth place. He would have finished in fourth ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. if not for an issue which led to him driving a lot slower than usual in order to avoid a DNF.

Here are the odds for the six Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes drivers, courtesy of WynnBET.

  • Max Verstappen, Red Bull: -150
  • Charles Leclerc, Ferrari: +165
  • George Russell, Mercedes: +1200
  • Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: +1750
  • Sergio Perez, Red Bull: +4000
  • Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari: +7500

As for the constructor side, the changes are similar. Red Bull, which took the lead in the constructor standings over Ferrari for the first time in 2022 with their second 1-2 finish in the last three races, have pulled ahead of Ferrari as the favorites to win their first title since 2013, and Mercedes have solidified themselves as more than just a longshot.

Can the eight-time reigning champions truly get back into the fight following a promising weekend in Barcelona?

Here are the odds for those three teams, courtesy of WynnBET.

  • Red Bull: -125
  • Ferrari: +125
  • Mercedes: +650

Next. Top 25 Formula 1 drivers of all-time. dark

There are 16 races remaining on the 22-race (not 23-race anymore) 2022 Formula 1 schedule. The next race is the Monaco Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place at Circuit de Monaco this coming Sunday, May 29. It is set to be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET, so be sure to begin your free trial of FuboTV today!