F1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 2 Bets, Including Charles Leclerc, for Singapore Grand Prix (Sunday, September 17)
Clive Mason/Getty Images. Pictured: F1 driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari
After a week off from racing, F1 heads to Southeast Asia for the penultimate street race of the year: the F1 Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay.
This is the “F1 Home of Night Racing” with lights out at 8 p.m. local time – and an 8 a.m. ET (5 a.m. PT) start time on Sunday morning on ESPN here in the U.S.
New to the track setup in 2023 is the removal of four turns down by the NS Square, which will increase overtaking opportunities compared to previous years.
This will be only the 14th running of the F1 Singapore Grand Prix on the calendar, and the second in the past four years.
Last year, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari were on pole and finished the race in second. Leclerc's teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr., started on the second row in fourth, finishing one spot up in third. Sergio Perez took the checkered flag in 2022, winning the race from the second spot on the grid.
F1 Singapore GP qualifying on Saturday was a continuation of Ferrari’s dominant start to the weekend. The mostly written-off duo of Leclerc and Sainz headlined all three practice sessions, finishing one-two in FP1 and FP2.
Sainz finished first in FP3 and proceeded to win pole position for the second race in a row (finished in third at the Italian GP).
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 16, 2023
Sainz led the field in Q2 with a 1:31.439 lap time, and he won pole position with a 1:30.984.
The biggest storyline of qualifying was what happened to Max Verstappen and Red Bull. Neither Verstappen nor Perez made it out of Q2, and they will start 11th and 13th, respectively, on the grid.
Verstappen was clearly frustrated with his car during the entire session while sliding all over the track and appearing to not have the grip he has enjoyed for the entirety of the season thus far. He finished with only the ninth-fastest time in Q1 while his 1:32.173 lap time was not good enough to advance out of Q2.
F1 Singapore Grand Prix Picks
History to Repeat for Charles Leclerc?
The best predictor of future outcomes is past results, or so they say. Although no two situations are ever the same, there is a lot that can be gleaned by looking back.
It is certainly not the end all be all in predicting how the races on Sunday will finish. The pro tip of the day is to pay attention to trends and previous outcomes.
Since becoming a Ferrari driver in 2019, Charles Leclerc has showed up and showed out at the Marina Bay street circuit. The Singapore GP was dropped from the shortened schedule of 2020, and again in 2021, but it was back last year. In both 2019 and 2022, Leclerc qualified on pole and finished in P2 each time.
Do either of these second-place finishes affect this year’s race? Of course not. Can they help show a pattern of success and be a factor in your analysis? Definitely, yes.
Back on Friday, Leclerc led the field during FP1 with the fastest time of the session, 1:33.350. Later in the day, he posted the second fastest time, only 0.018 seconds behind his teammate in FP2. Although early in qualifying things weren’t stellar, he did come back in Q3 to post the third-fastest time at 1:31.063.
While it is not out of the question for Charles Leclerc to jump up two spots and win the race on Sunday, I believe that he can repeat the final results of the past two races in Singapore and finish with at least a P2.
The Pick: Charles Leclerc – Top 2 Finish (1 unit, +200 on bet365)
AlphaTauri Team Matchup
Scuderia AlphaTauri has had a whirlwind of a season, currently sitting in dead last in the World Constructors’ Championship standings.
They are the only team on the grid to make any driver changes this season, benching Nyck de Vries after 10 races and turning to Daniel Ricciardo.
Unfortunately, the veteran driver sustained multiple fractures to his hand and the second seat was passed on to Liam Lawson for the time being.
Third-year driver Yuki Tsunoda has been the only constant for the team this season. He is also the only driver for AlphaTauri to score any points, finishing in 10th place on three separate occasions this season.
I like taking a matchup here, with rookie Liam Lawson qualifying P10 and Tsunoda starting down in P15. I see a lot of value in taking Tsunoda plus money to finish ahead of his teammate on Sunday.
Looking at their fastest lap times over the weekend, Tsunoda was quicker than Lawson in FP1, FP3 and Q1 during qualifying. He was the fastest driver on the grid, finishing with a 1:31.991 in Q1. If not for locking up around turn 14 in Q2, he would have likely qualified for Q3 ahead of Lawson.
With both Red Bull cars starting in between Lawson and Tsunoda, they will very likely pass Lawson early on in the race, leaving just two cars in between the AlphaTauri teammates. I like the value on Tsunoda finishing ahead of Lawson, posting faster times all weekend and having years of experience on the young New Zealand driver.