Charles Leclerc Upsets Max Verstappen at Austrian GP

Austria 2022 Formula 1 Verstappen And Leclerc

  • Charles Leclerc won the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, pulling of the upset of Max Verstappen from the P2 position.
  • Leclerc opened at +250 odds but saw his price drop to +275 after Verstappen won Friday’s qualifying race.
  • With the Win, Leclerc moved back to second place in the Drivers Standings, cutting Verstappen’s lead to 38 championship points.

With world champion Max Verstappen threatening to pull away in the Drivers Standings, Charles Leclerc traveled to Austria needing a big weekend.

Verstappen had built a 34-point lead over teammate Sergio Perez in the standings and was a comfortable 43 points ahead of Leclerc who was in third place. Since Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring is considered one of Verstappen’s best tracks, things did not look bright for Leclerc.

One of Max Verstappen’s Best Tracks

Aside from having the Red Bull Ring owned by Verstappen’s team, it’s one of his most successful tracks to race on. The Belgian-Dutch driver has won in Spielberg thrice during the last four years, losing only in 2020 when he was unable to finish the race due to car electronics failure.

Because of his history of dominance at the Red Bull Ring, Verstappen opened as the -120 betting favorite to win the race for the fourth time in five years. All signs pointed to a Verstappen win as he won Friday’s qualifying race and earned the right to start from pole position. That victory made Max the -200 favorite at the BetOnline App heading to the race.

Leclerc finished behind Verstappen in the qualifying race and saw his opening odds of +225 drop to +275 on Sunday. But Leclerc beat Verstappen in a straight fight, breathing life back to his title campaign. Leclerc started the season very strong but has faded in the standings after failing to win a race since April.

Leclerc Moves Back Up to P2

With the win, Leclerc moved back up to P2 in the Drivers Standings, overtaking Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez who retired from the race. With Perez unable to get championship points in Sunday’s race, Leclerc advanced to 2nd in the standings with 170 points while Perez dropped to third with 151 championship points. Verstappen is, however, still 38 points clear of Leclerc.

The Ferrari driver did make headway on the championship betting boards. According to Bet365, Verstappen’s championship odds have dropped from -450 before the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix to -350 after the Spielberg race. Leclerc meanwhile, improved from +450 last week to +300 heading to the French Grand Prix on July 24th.

The same online betting site also has Verstappen as the slight +120 to win the race with Leclerc very close to him at +137. Verstappen won the French Grand Prix last year with Leclerc finishing 7th. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who won in 2018 and 2019, has +1000 odds to win on July 24th. The focus however will be on Verstappen and Leclerc, and whether the former pulls away or the latter gets even closer.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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