In a mere seven days, the 2021 F1 World Champion will be crowned.
And while that title may be handed out tonight, the likelihood of that became inordinately diminished with a wild and unpredictable qualifying at the new Jeddah street circuit.
Max Verstappen must outscore Lewis Hamilton by 18 points to be crowned King in Saudi Arabia. Put simply, he must win or run second and hope Hamilton finishes around seventh or worse depending on fastest lap variations.
Hopes that Red Bull could punch it this weekend may have been growing as Max was putting together a blinder on his final hot lap in Q3, but they literally came to a screeching halt as he binned it on the last corner.
The consequences mean we have a Mercedes front row lock out, but a very fast Red Bull car chasing in a race where the one stop looks to be the obvious option.
Daniel Ricciardo didn’t make it out of Q2, but there were promising signs for the Australian this weekend. And despite having engine issues in recent weeks, the McLaren is still a faster car than most of those around it on the grid.
It doesn’t look an easy track to overtake but we can back the crafty veteran to slide into the top 10 early and pretty comfortably hold a points finish. That’s our first and most aggressive play.
Even though we’ve had some wide margins in recent weeks, the prospect of cars being close on the track this week looms strongly, at least at the top end of town, so if there no wiggle room for fastest lap shenanigans, we can get stuck into a margin of under five seconds at $3.60.
We might only be going with the two bets tonight but both look really strong options on an exciting night of Formula One racing.
Daniel Ricciardo to finish Top 10 @ $1.38 – 3 units
Winning Margin under 5 seconds @ $3.75 – 2 units