Formula One returns this weekend after a three week hiatus. We are now halfway through the season and the title race remains wide open. That is largely due to the unexpected competition that Red Bull have been facing from Mercedes, which has pegged Sebastian Vettel’s lead right back.
Hamilton won last time out, in Hungary, but if this weekend’s race in Belgium could be the most open one yet. The starting grid will be loaded with drivers who have gone well at the famous old Spa circuit in the past and it is easy to see how any of them could finish on top of the podium this time around.
Vettel is currently the 15/8 favorite with Ladbrokes and his price is shortening every day. That could all change if he has a bad time in practice and as there is very rarely any value in backing the German in this market your best strategy is definitely to hold back a day or two until after final practice.
Hamilton is currently 10/3 with BetFred, which is not a bad price at all. The Mercedes will like some of the fast corners on this track and has shown in both Monaco and Hungary that it is now able to withstand the more technical circuits. Coral have his team mate Nico Rosberg at 12/1, which is quite a long price for someone who has won a race already this season.
Three men who will be looking to make a big impression this weekend are Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa. Red Bull announced this week that it is Ricciardo who will replace Mark Webber at the end of the season and although he’s out at 350/1 (Stan James) to win this race, you can get 14/1 across the board on him finishing in the top six. Ricciardo drives for Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s ‘junior’ team and although no-one will admit it openly, you can expect the bulk of their resources to go into pushing Ricciardo up the field now, rather than sharing them between him and the other Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne.
Massa is in a different position. He has had a poor season and Ferrari are talking about replacing him. They haven’t said as much publically, but it is an open secret around the paddock. BetVictor have him at 13/8 for a top six finish and, again, that looks like a good racing pick.
The man that Ferrari want to replace Massa, and who by all accounts wants to replace him, is Raikkonen. The Lotus driver believes that he needs to drive for a more competitive team and the only likely vacant seat, now that Red Bull have filled their opening, is at Ferrari (even though the famous red car has hardly been a pace setter this year). Although he has little to prove and has multiple wins at Spa, he’s a good price for victory at 13/2 betting odds with Paddy Power.Share your thoughts on Formula 1 on our F1 forum thread!