Wednesday 22 August 2018

Belgian GP Betting Preview - Hard rain

Formula 1 reconvenes after a four-week summer break with the consideration at the front remaining familiar - victory in this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa looks in advance a matter primarily of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes versus Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

Once again at the front it looks like it'll be a matter
 of Sebastian Vettel versus Lewis Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
Ferrari had the quickest car in the weeks before the break, and Vettel won at the last similar-ish challenge to Spa at Silverstone. That 70% of the Spa track is taken at full throttle should be to his benefit too as the Ferrari engine has also been mighty recently. But then again in this time for one reason or another - some their own doing; some not - Vettel and Ferrari haven't always converted their advantage to victory.

And this time the very thing that scuppered them in the last weekend before the break in Hungary is due to re-occur. Rain.

The bookies agree that Hamilton versus Vettel is a tough call as the pair have exactly the same odds to win and to take pole - respectively 6/4 and 11/8.

Given this is Spa - forecasts or not rain is a perennial threat - this tilts the probability towards Hamilton and Mercedes, so the betting value is likely more with them.

Once again the bookies don't appear terribly convinced by the claims of Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas, and the 6/5 for him to finish on the podium looks long, particularly given the evidence of Hungary's qualifying is that the Mercedes is the strongest car in the wet.

Kimi Raikkonen also has long been thought a Spa specialist and can be backed at 4/5 to get on the podium.

Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly could go well if it rains
Photo: Octane Photography
It could also be worth backing a pole winning margin of over two tenths of a second at 5/4 - Spa has a long lap plus if it is a wet weather session the times will likely vary to a greater extent.

There's another local peculiarity to potentially take advantage of. Spa races start with, after the La Source hairpin, a 25 second full throttle run to Les Combes which with the slipstreaming has led plenty to theorise starting second is better than first. The bookies may not have twigged on this - you can back whoever starts second to lead at the end of lap 1 at a whole 10/3.

As for the rest, again much depends on whether or not it rains. If it stays dry then Haas with its fine Ferrari power unit looks well placed to be best of the rest, and the 7/5 for Romain Grosjean to finish in the top six looks good value - he finished third at this track in 2015.

Carlos Sainz tends to go well in the wet - he qualified fifth in Hungary - and you may be tempted by 5/2 on him to finish in the top six or 3/5 to score. The Toro Rossos also showed up well in Hungary qualifying and Pierre Gasly's odds are 12/1 to finish in the top six and 5/2 in the top 10.

Safety cars are pretty common in Spa races and rain will increase their probability. You can back there being this time at least one safety car appearance at 4/11 - you won't make a massive buck at those odds but it still seems worth your wager given everything.

All odds quoted in this article were accurate on the Oddschecker website at 2015 GMT on Wednesday 22 August 2018.

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