After four weeks off due to the FIA mandated summer shutdown, the Formula One season returns at round 11 as teams and drivers do battle around the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps located in the Ardennes forest region of Belgium. The track has been host to some of the more memorable moments in F1 history, with the 1986 race seeing Nigel Mansell defeat Aryton Senna after a race long battle, the 1998 race that saw 13 cars wiped out at the first corner accident in soaking conditions before Damon Hill took Jordan F1’s first ever race win and the 2000 historic battle between Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher that included both drivers overtaking Ricardo Zonta in the same move. Who’ll be writing their name into Belgian Grand Prix history this weekend?
After a poor time of things on Friday where he lagged far behind his team-mate and biggest rival for the 2015 F1 World Championship in Nico Rosberg it was Lewis Hamilton who blitzed the field once again to take pole position in Belgium. The British two-time world champion has now taken ten of the 11 pole positions available this season and he is aiming for his sixth race win of the season as he aims back bounce back from an error strewn race in Hungary before the shutdown.
He is the 1.40 favourite to win the race with Betfair.com ahead of Rosberg, who can be backed at odds of 3.75 to take the chequered flag, with third placed starter Valtteri Bottas available at a price of 12.00 as he sits almost 1.5 seconds back from the lead Mercedes cars. The race is sure to be a two way battle between Hamilton and Rosberg for the win and after his win around this circuit in 2010 we feel that Hamilton is the man to back for victory this weekend.
However, odds of 1.40 are not going to get your mouth watering for the F1 action of the weekend and we’ve found the following bits of value with Betfair for the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix.
Jenson Button v Fernando Alonso:
The two McLaren drivers face off in this race bet market with the Briton available at odds of 1.90 behind his Spanish team-mate @ 1.83. It has not been a good weekend for the team so far as they received grid penalties totalling 105 places due to the number of parts changed on the cars following the assertion from Honda F1 boss Yasuhisa Arai that the changes made to the engines over the break would see them level with Ferrari.
That has not happened as they line up 17th and 18th on the grid with Button ahead of Alonso after the former Renault and Ferrari driver missed all of the final qualifying with exhaust issues and as the Brit won here in 2012 we are backing him to defeat his team-mate this weekend.
First Driver Retirement:
Although he is just the fourth favourite for this market, our pick for each and every race weekend is Pastor Maldonado. The Lotus driver has retired in two of his four races at Spa and has retired from six of the ten races so far this season. He is almost definitely going to retire from this race, with him finishing seeing us far more surprised in recent times, and at a price of 10.00 to be the first driver out we cannot pass up backing the Venezuelan even ahead of the very broken McLaren cars!
Hamilton, Rosberg and Bottas line up 1-2-3 on the grid for the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix today and they lead the way in the betting market on who will finish in the top three places once the chequered flag drops. However, we feel that there is value on this market as the fourth favourite Sebastian Vettel lines up ninth and can be backed at odds of 4.50.
Only an error in the final chicane saw Vettel throwaway the 0.3 seconds needed to be close to Bottas on the second row of the race and you can be sure that the two time race winner will confident in his abilities and his car enough to see him move through the field and onto the podium as the flag drops in the Ardennes forest this Sunday afternoon.