Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain reacts after qualifying session qualifying session in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 ahead of the Qatar Formula One Grand Prix. (Hamad I Mohammed, Pool via AP)


Patrick Werkmeister

From the brand-new Losail International Circuit in Qatar, the battle between Mercedes and Red Bull heats up with just 3 races to go. Following a fantastic performance by Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton during qualifying, he was able to secure pole position for this Sunday and was a full half second quicker than Max Verstappen. While Max still holds a slim lead over Lewis in the drivers’ standings, Lewis proved last week he is the fastest driver in the fastest car, and he has a great opportunity to catch Max in the standings here. With that in mind, here are the best props and bets I love for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton to Win (-270)
With Lewis pulling off a terrific performance and qualifying for pole on Sunday’s grid, he stands to once again bring home a victory. While Lewis bested the competition during Saturday, this will be the first ever grand prix held in Qatar at this track, so expect things to not go as planned for some drivers this Sunday. Despite not getting pole, Max seemed focused as he has been near the top all weekend, but Red Bull will need to be better prepared if they want a chance of derailing Lewis. Lewis and Mercedes have looked dominant this weekend and they look to continue that into the final day. While Mercedes has pole position for Sunday, this circuit is brand new and has plenty of spots for DRS that are prime for overtaking. With Mercedes still slightly ahead of Red Bull in the constructors’ standings, they will be in a perfect position to extend that lead even further. Take Lewis to walk away in this one with the victory.

Pierre Gasly Podium Finish (+350)
After putting up some astonishing results by his standards during both practice and qualifying sessions, Pierre Gasly’s quickness was on full display Friday and Saturday in Qatar. While it was a very impressive start for Pierre, he only qualified for 4th on the grid behind all Mercedes and Red Bull drivers. However, he looked like he could out pace anyone on the grid in his refined AlphaTauri. Last time out in Brazil, he was able to put together a modest 7th place performance. Now that it’s the home stretch, he is pushing his car to the brink in order to outscore Alpine, where they are tied at 112 in the constructors’ standings. Although Pierre is behind the most dominant cars with even more quickness behind him; his grid placement should not be a huge factor in the outcome. At odds of +350, this prop is more of a value pick in contrast to the first pick. Due to the fact he has been so consistent recently; I would put Pierre as a strong dark horse to be in the top 3. Take Gasly to get his second podium of the season if you’re feeling risky. 

Fernando Alonso Top 6 Finish (+120)
While team Alpine had solid team results in Saturday’s qualifying sessions, Fernando Alonso was on top of his game and was able to capture 5th on the grid. The Alpine driver will once again be ahead of his teammate Esteban Ocon and looks to be back to his prime championship driving ways. Although he will already be at the top six to start this Grand Prix, Fernando will have to at least hold off the Ferrari and McLaren that tail him. However, this weekend he has shown he can pretty much keep up with any driver on the track. His run in Q3 was a measly two-tenths of a second off pace with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas during qualifying, who will start third on the grid. Alpine is in direct competition with AlphaTauri where they are now tied in the constructors’ standings, so expect them to push hard in this one. Fernando will be leading the all-out push for Alpine as they hope to keep their top five dreams alive for the constructors’ championship. With 62 points and one podium on the season, I certainly like his chances at earning a spot in the top 6. Expect Alonso to stay efficient throughout the race and not make mistakes while placing in the top 6.  

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