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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix tips, predictions and best bets: Back Charles Leclerc to snatch pole

After a dominant win in Bahrain to kick-start Max Verstappen's latest title defence, the grim reality is that the 19 other drivers can already stop dreaming of being the one to stop him this year.

But, if you take Verstappen and Red Bull out of the equation, there is still plenty of competitiveness amongst the rest of the field and that should lead to some appealing prices we can take advantage of in the betting markets.

Here are our tips for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

 

Charles Leclerc - pole position

Verstappen may have it pretty much all his own this year again on race day, but the same cannot be said of qualifying.

On the figures alone, Verstappen clinching pole by two tenths in Bahrain completely dismisses that theory, but the raw Q3 data does not tell the full story.

That's because Verstappen's pole time was not the quickest set in the entire session and it was actually Charles Leclerc who posted better figures in Q2.

Verstappen made a notable admission after the dominant race win last week and said his RB20 is vulnerable in one-lap pace and if anyone can capitalise in Saudi Arabia, it's Leclerc. He's a speed demon over one lap.

 

Ferrari - fastest lap (race)

 

 

So, in Carlos Sainz’s absence for appendicitis comes British teenage hotshot Oliver Bearman in Saudi Arabia, and while he is extremely highly rated and already touted to step up to Formula 1 next year, getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari at such short notice is a huge test for any driver.

Nobody can expect him to match Charles Leclerc alongside him, but given he is in one of the fastest cars, either Ferrari driver could well try to take the bonus point for fastest lap of the race as an outside shout.

 

Nico Hulkenberg - points finish

Everyone expecting Haas to be the clear backmarkers this year are already frantically checking to see if it is too late to tweak their season predictions. Not me, honest.

Hulkenberg showcased his superb one-lap strength again in qualifying by lining up P10 on the Bahrain Grand Prix grid, only for a first-corner incident to completely ruin his weekend.

If Hulkenberg can stay out of trouble in Saudi Arabia, it appears he actually does have a car which is capable of scoring a point or two come race day.

 

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix suggested bets:

Charles Leclerc - pole position

Ferrari – fastest lap (race)

Nico Hulkenberg - points finish

 

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