As we reach the quarter point of the 2022 F1 season, there are two clear leaders in the race for the World Championship.

Can Max Verstappen continue his winning momentum in this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix following his triumph in Miami, or will Charles Leclerc extend his lead?

We preview the race below.

Leclerc v Verstappen: The battle continues

In the inaugural race of what will surely become one of the highlights of the F1 season in years to come, drama was always on the cards at the Miami Grand Prix. It had promised to be a showstopper and it certainly delivered.

The fight between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc this season had already been intense, echoing iconic rivalries of past legends, and continued as it started; the drivers finishing the race in Miami within four seconds of each other as winner Verstappen closed the gap on overall leader Leclerc to 19 points. Verstappen and Leclerc have won three and two respectively of the first five races of the season and will look to step on the pedal in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix as it appears neither is letting up.

Verstappen, who won last year’s Drivers’ Championship, has two wins on the bounce and is the favourite to emerge victorious on Sunday once more at Evens, while he’s 1/3 to finish on the podium for a fourth time this season.

Leclerc, who spearheads the Ferrari resurgence this term, started the season convincingly with wins in both Bahrain and Australia and still holds that significant lead of 19 points over Verstappen. Leclerc is 11/8 to win the race and 1/3 to finish on the podium for a fifth time this season.

There is, of course, a long way to go, but Verstappen is 4/5 to win his second Drivers’ Championship in a row, with Leclerc 5/4 to claim the title, which would make him the third different victor in three years.

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The rest of the pack

Things aren’t quite as well-oiled an operation down the rest of the table as other teams work to challenge the more superior Ferrari and Red Bull cars. Mercedes, who had been dominating the Drivers’ Championship since 2014, have suffered a fall from grace this season with a car that is struggling to compete with the performance and reliability of the new and improved Ferrari for one.

After 2021’s last-second blow, Lewis Hamilton, who was metres away from setting the record for the most Drivers’ Championships, has been unable to continue his dominant form this term and currently holds sixth position, driving a Mercedes car that has significant, deep rooted issues with pace and stability, which, according to Hamilton, is very tough to manage. He only stands a 25/1 chance of winning the Drivers’ Championship and is 22/1 to secure an unlikely win on Sunday.

With Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell sitting in fourth, Mercedes are a long 20/1 to finish on top in the Constructors’ Championship this season, with Ferrari and Red Bull the joint 10/11 favourites.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz are third and fifth in the Drivers’ Championship respectively and are priced at 5/6 and 8/11 to achieve a podium finish. McLaren’s seventh-placed Lando Norris, meanwhile, is 17/2 for a podium finish.

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