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F1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 3 Drivers to Bet for Las Vegas Grand Prix (Sunday, November 19)

F1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 3 Drivers to Bet for Las Vegas Grand Prix (Sunday, November 19) article feature image

ANP via Getty Images. Pictured: F1 driver Carlos Sainz of Ferrari

The F1 season is winding down as the drivers and teams head to Sin City for the penultimate race of the year: the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix on early on Sunday morning (1 a.m. ET, ESPN).

The race is set to make its introduction under the lights at night and with all of the proper showmanship and fanfare that comes with hosting an event in the entertainment capital of the world.

While there were two Championship races held in Vegas during the 1980s (under the name Caesars Palace Grand Prix), there has never been a street race until now that has cars flying down Las Vegas Boulevard past the Palazzo and Treasure Island down to the Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood.

Charles Leclerc earned his fifth pole position of the season as Ferrari went one-two in all three qualifying sessions.

Carlos Sainz Jr. qualified in P2 but will have to serve a 10-grid penalty for replacing his energy store over the weekend.

Coming into the weekend, McLaren weren't confident about their car at these temperatures or at this street circuit layout, but I don’t think even they were expecting qualifying to go that poorly.

Neither driver was able to make it out of Q1, and Lando Norris will start all the way down in P15 after qualifying P16.

Q2 saw George Russell in his Mercedes go third fastest on the grid while teammate Lewis Hamilton failed to crack the top 10. Lewis did not make it into Q3 for just the third time this season. The other notable driver to not make it out of Q2 was Sergio Perez, who was only 12th fastest.

The front row for the race on Sunday morning/Saturday night will be Leclerc with Max Verstappen right next to him in P2.

George Russell and Pierre Gasly will start on the second row while Alexander Albon and teammate Logan Sargeant of Williams will start in P5 and P6 on the third row.

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F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Odds and Prediction 

Carlos Sainz Podium Finish

Vindication. Carlos Sainz Jr. was unfairly assessed a 10-place grid penalty as the FIA said that there was nothing that they could do.

Sainz drove over a dislodged manhole cover in FP1, and his team of engineers had to replace the survival cell, engine, energy store and control electronics, all of which were damaged beyond repair.

Despite the incident, Sainz and Ferrari were able to get everything replaced and back on the track in time for FP2. Leclerc was fastest on the grid during FP2, and Sainz had the second-fastest lap time.

The moment Carlos Sainz hit a drain cover on the Las Vegas strip, causing FP1 to be cancelled 👀

— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) November 17, 2023

As mentioned before, both Ferraris were terrific in qualifying with Leclerc on pole with a lap time of 1:32.726 in Q3. With the second fastest lap time of the session, Sainz was able to post a 1:32.770 during Q3.

As I project out how this race will go, look for Sainz to get a great start while the grid is bunched together, and he should be able to improve on the opening laps from P12 on the grid.

With the cooler track temperatures, the tight corners at high speeds, and the slick surface around the Strip, look for a safety car at some point during the race to further improve Sainz's odds of jumping up into contention.

I think with the second-fastest car at this circuit, Sainz will be able to jump up into at least the top six, but the odds are too steep to give out as a pick.

I know it’s a long shot, but the odds to finish on the podium are good value in my book. Coming off of his Netflix Cup win with Justin Thomas, I like Sainz to finish on the podium at the inaugural F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The Pick: Carlos Sainz Jr. Podium Finish (1 unit, +200 on BetMGM)

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Mercedes Fastest Lap Longshot

George Russell qualified with the fourth-fastest lap time and will start in P3. Lewis Hamilton was the first driver left out of the top 10 in Q2 and will start in P10.

Hamilton will be next to Sainz and Perez fighting toward the front of the grid from the middle of the pack.

Looking at the prior street races, Red Bull and Mercedes are the only two constructors to post a fastest lap at the street circuits this season. In Vegas, Red Bull are rightly favored to secure the fastest lap – with Ferrari second-best and Mercedes with the third-best odds.

I am taking a flier that both Mercedes will bounce back from a tough race day down in Sao Paulo to have a competitive car in Vegas. It is tough to decide between Hamilton or Russell for this, so I am hedging a bit by taking a bet that either driver can win.

Russell took the extra point for fastest lap earlier this year at Baku. Hamilton has recorded four fastest-lap victories this season, two of which have come at street circuits. He was able to do so at Monaco and Singapore, both of which resemble the Las Vegas Street Circuit closely.

The Pick: Mercedes to Set the Fastest Lap (0.5 unit, +600 on Bet365)

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