After a month's hiatus, F1 makes its return this weekend and the first race back should be an absolute cracker with the teams set to take to Spa-Francorchamps which is a track that tends to produce incredible race weekends.
Our F1 scribes runs the rule over the Belgian Grand Prix and gives both his value bet and who he reckons will take top honors this Sunday.
Belgian Grand Prix
Sunday 28 August
To Win Race Outright
Max Verstappen 17/20
Charles LeClerc 7/2
Lewis Hamilton 5/1
Carlos Sainz 8/1
George Russell 10/1
Max Verstappen turned on the style last time out in Hungary as he went from P10 on the grid to claim his eighth race of the campaign and extend his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to 80 points.
He even had time to spin out, collect himself and carry on. Probably not the best advert for those wanting a more competitive Championship race, but what can you do?
The Dutchman was followed across the line by the twin Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton – who claimed his best result of the season with a second-place finish – and George Russel in third.
Ferrari managed to salvage some pride and points from an extremely disappointing weekend with Carlos Sainz, who started the race P2, finishing fourth and Charles LeClerc, who qualified P3, claiming sixth place. Sandwiched between the Prancing Stag duo was the Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
Lando Norris (seventh) brought his car in just before a stream of veterans with the evergreen Fernando Alonso taking eighth, the still relatively young Esteban Ocon claiming ninth and the soon-to-be-retired Sebastian Vettel taking tenth
Track – Spa-Francorchamps
Let’s be honest, last year’s Belgian Grand Prix was a bit of a farce. After hours of delays because of heavy rain, the “race” finally got underway after 18:00 local time behind the safety car.
The field crawled around the track for two laps – which race control considered “race laps” – before the race was suspended again during the third lap. It would never resume and Max Verstappen would be awarded the points.
It was a real shame as this is one of the few tracks that still has quite an old-school feel to it- and I mean that in the exciting sense. Not what Monaco has become.
The venue allows drivers to push their machines to their limits with a series of long straights and lightning-quick corners. There should be plenty of overtaking opportunities on Sunday with dry weather predicted.
It will be fairly damp on Friday and Saturday, however, so we could see a bit of a shake-up in the qualification results if the morning rain persists into the afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton – Podium Finish – 83/100
The value in this bet is quickly disappearing with Hamilton a whole lot shorter to claim this accolade than he has been in the recent past.
Still, I fancy the Brit’s chances here. He has been a regular on the Spa podium over the past decade and a bit winning four and finishing on the podium a further six occasions. 8/10 is a great price, especially considering Mercedes’ overall improvement throughout the season. Get on!
To Win Race Outright
Max Verstappen – 17/20
While last year’s victory at Spa was a rather hollow one, Verstappen will have still been delighted to have got that particular monkey off his back. The Red Bull ace struggled at Spa during the early parts of his career, crashing out at the venue on a handful of occasions.
As he’s matured, his results at this demanding track have got better with Verstappen claiming third in 2018 and 2019.
He is in immaculate form and I can see the current Drivers’ Championship leader extending his lead at the top of the standings this coming weekend.