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Spanish Grand Prix predictions: Challengers lining up to take on Verstappen
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Phil Agius
Sergio Perez has picked up a three-place grid penalty for this weekend but may still shine
Sergio Perez has picked up a three-place grid penalty for this weekend but may still shine

- Red Bull have finished on the podium at the last eight Spanish Grands Prix
- Charles Leclerc should benefit from upgrades to his Ferrari in Barcelona 
- Recommended bets: 
- Sergio Perez podium finish 
- Charles Leclerc to beat Lando Norris

The 2024 F1 world championship is looking more exciting with each round that passes and Mercedes' recent improvement means there are now four teams who can realistically challenge for race wins.

The championship returns to Europe this week for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and world champion Max Verstappen will be the man to beat again after winning the last two races at the track. 

The stats

Max Verstappen's win in Canada was his 50th success in the last 75 F1 races.

Verstappen has finished on the podium in the last six Barcelona races, following two third places, with two runner-up spots and then two wins.

Lando Norris is the only driver to score points at every race this season.

Lewis Hamilton has the most Barcelona wins in the current F1 field with six.

Ferrari have the most all-time victories in this race with 12.

Charles Leclerc had finished in the top four in the first eight races before retiring in Canada.

The Formula 1 roadshow heads for the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend
The Formula 1 roadshow heads for the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend


F1 fans have been treated to some excellent action in the last few races as one by one new challengers emerge to threaten the recent dominance of the Red Bull team.

World champion Verstappen has won six of the nine races this season, but McLaren and Ferrari both have victories on the board now, while Mercedes showed with George Russell's pole position and podium finish in Montreal that they are back in the mix too.

While Red Bull struggled when riding the kerbs in Monaco and Montreal, that is not such an issue for them around the smooth curves of the Barcelona circuit and Verstappen looks the right favourite to win this race for the third successive season.

His Red Bull team-mate, Sergio Perez, has had a miserable time lately, dropping to fifth in the championship after failing to finish either of the last two races. 

His poor weekend in Canada has carried over to this race too, as he picked up a three-place grid penalty for rejoining the track with his car in an unsafe condition.

Even with a lower grid slot, Perez should be capable of climbing back into the lower podium positions and odds of 3/1 with LiveScore Bet that he has a better weekend with a top-three finish are worth taking.

Perez has finished in the points at Barcelona with Sauber, McLaren, Force India, Racing Point and Red Bull in his career and last season the Mexican showed some spark in the race, climbing to fourth place after qualifying only 11th. 

The previous season he finished second to Verstappen after starting fifth and should be fully motivated to improve after his recent disappointments.

Ferrari are taking an updated car to Barcelona and any extra speed that produces could help them become Red Bull's closest challengers.

The euphoria of the Italian team's Monaco success for Charles Leclerc evaporated with their double failure to finish in Montreal, but they should be able to bounce back this weekend.

Leclerc, who remains second to Verstappen in the championship standings, is an attractive wager as the outsider in a match bet with McLaren's Lando Norris as both drivers chase their second wins of the season.

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