Formula 1 British Grand Prix betting preview: How will the sprint race format work out?

·3 min read

British Grand Prix

10 a.m. ET, ESPN

Formula 1’s sprint race experiment begins at Silverstone.

The British Grand Prix race weekend is going to look a lot different — and that’s going to affect how you bet. This is the first of three races where Formula 1 is attempting sprint races to set the grid for Sunday’s race. Instead of three practices and a standard knockout qualifying session, things are a little more complicated.

Let’s explain. Friday will start with a one-hour practice ahead of a qualifying session. The qualifying session will set the starting order for Saturday’s sprint race.

Saturday will begin with a practice session like it typically does. And instead of a qualifying session afterwards, teams will compete in a 17-lap race. The finish order of the sprint race will be the starting order of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

The winner of the sprint race will also get three points. That’s important. Lewis Hamilton trails Max Verstappen by 32 points in the championship. If Hamilton somehow wins the sprint race, wins the race and gets fastest lap while Verstappen fails to score points, that deficit will shrink to three.

There is, of course, a slim chance of that actually happening. Verstappen and Red Bull are the fastest team on the grid right now. Mercedes has upgrades ready to deploy at Silverstone, but we don’t know just how effective they’ll be until the team hits the track.

That’s evident in the odds for the first practice. While Max Verstappen is -135 or better for qualifying, the sprint race and the actual race, he’s just +120 to win the first practice while Hamilton is at +250 and his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, is at +325. Mercedes could show some pace right off the bat — but it’s not worth betting.

Our advice is to wait until after the first practice to make your bets. The qualifying session isn’t until 1 p.m. ET, a few hours later than the second practice would typically be. The sprint race also starts at 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday.

Here are some bets we like for the race weekend. Odds are courtesy of BetMGM.

Lewis Hamilton to qualify in the top three (-375)

We’re not taking many risks this week. This bet has higher odds than Hamilton to finish in the top three in the race, so we’re jumping on this one.

Lando Norris to finish in the top six (-350)

To show the betting respect Norris commands, his top-six odds are equal to Valtteri Bottas’ odds. He should be a top five contender on Sunday.

Pierre Gasly to finish in the top 10 (-275)

Gasly has been quick all season and has only failed to finish outside of the top 10 when he’s had mechanical issues in two of the nine races so far this season.

Daniel Ricciardo to finish in the top 10 (-275)

Ricciardo should have worse odds than Gasly given his recent form, but we’re confident that he’ll rebound this weekend.

Both Mercedes drivers to finish in the top six (-250)

Even if Mercedes doesn’t have the pace to match Verstappen over the entire weekend, both drivers should finish in the top six.

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