Welcome Back to Suzuka!: 2022 Japanese Grand Prix Betting News and Preview
For the first time since 2019, Formula 1 returns to one of the most iconic and favored old-school circuits for fans, drivers, and this writer in particular: Suzuka International Racing Circuit. Why do we all love the Suzuka Circuit? The Honda-owned circuit is historic, fast flowing, challenging, and has the unique fandom and support that only Japan and Japanese culture can provide.
Unlike the low-speed Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore, the Japanese Grand Prix will see the drivers push the new generation of Formula 1 cars to the faster end of their limits. The odds were long that the World Championship would be awarded during the Singapore Grand Prix. That’s not the case at Suzuka: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen only needs to beat Charles Leclerc by eight points to win the Driver’s World Championship.
With Verstappen a race win and the fastest lap point away from claiming his second World Championship in a Honda-powered car at the Honda-branded event and owned circuit, we’re going to review the news that will affect your Formula 1 betting for the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.
Suzuka International Racing Circuit
The Suzuka International Racing Circuit is home to numerous World Championship-winning drives throughout Formula 1 history and monsoon-affected qualifying and races. The last time a World Championship was awarded at Suzuka was in 2011 when Sebastian Vettel claimed his second World Championship, while the Driver’s World Championship has been awarded in Japan thirteen times.
Suzuka is the only figure eight circuit on the Formula 1 calendar, where one lap features 18 turns across 3.608 miles (5.807 km). The Grand Prix will be 53 laps, with drivers at full throttle for 66% of the lap.
Sir Lewis Hamilton holds the all-time circuit record, setting a 1:27.319 during Qualifying 2 of the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton also has the in-race fastest lap, setting a 1:30.983 in the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix.
Upgrades for the Japanese Grand Prix
With the Japanese Grand Prix being the second consecutive flyaway race and the cost cap in full effect, there are limited upgrades to report on. Notably, there are no paddock rumors of any real upgrades to Red Bull’s RB-18s, including the much rumored light-weight chassis. It’s not like Red Bull needs further development to win double World Championships in 2022.
Daniel Ricciardo now has the same upgraded floor on his MCL-36 as Lando Norris did in Singapore. Alfa Romeo has a redesigned front wing, characterized as a performance upgrade. Alpha Tauri has an updated rear wing, while Ferrari has new front and rear floor geometrics, which is a part of their standard and expected development strategy.
Japanese Grand Prix Betting Preview
Do you remember the Belgian Grand Prix and how dominant Red Bull was? Well, much like Spa-Francorchamps, the Suzuka circuit has characteristics that favor the Red Bull RB18. Unless there are fuelling issues, we expect Verstappen to crush the field as he did in Belgium. Sergio Peréz might have won in Singapore, but Checo is stronger on street circuits than old-school style circuits like Suzuka.
Verstappen’s odds of winning the Japanese Grand Prix are 11/18, while his odds as the fastest qualifier are currently set at 6/4. For his part, Peréz’s odds of winning the Grand Prix are 13/1, while his odds for the fastest qualifier are set at 9/1.
Charles Leclerc is always a possibility to claim pole position. Leclerc’s odds for the fastest qualifier are set at 11/8.
As always with Formula 1, the best betting lines are found on various prop bets like first retirement and Top 6 finishers. These odds will fluctuate as the weekend unfolds and bettors see how each car and driver perform on the circuit. However, we’ll give you our picks for the top 6 finishers for the Japanese Grand Prix.
And, yes, we’re picking Max Verstappen to win the race, and World Championship in a Honda-powered car, in Japan, on a weekend where Red Bull and Honda have a new and strengthened working relationship extending to 2026 and potentially beyond.
Japanese Grand Prix Fastest Qualifier
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (11/8) or Carlos Sainz (7/1)
Japanese Grand Prix Top Six Finishers
P1: Max Verstappen – Red Bull (1/6)
P2: Sergio Perez – Red Bull (1/4)
P3: Charles Leclerc – Ferrari (1/4)
P4: Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes (1/5)
P5: Carlos Sainz – Ferrari (1/4)
P6: Fernando Alonso – Alpine (if the Alpine/Renault power unit can hold up…) (11/8)
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