Belgian Grand Prix
Sunday, Aug. 29
9 a.m. ET, ESPN
Max Verstappen is looking to do what a Red Bull driver hasn’t done at Spa since 2014.
Mercedes and Ferrari have been the dominant teams at the Belgian track since Daniel Ricciardo won for Red Bull at the Belgian Grand Prix in 2014. Mercedes has won four of the last six races while Ferrari took the checkered flag in 2018 and 2019.
The 2020 race was won by, you guessed it, Lewis Hamilton. He led all 44 laps to take the checkered flag ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas and extend his points lead to 47 points over Verstappen.
Hamilton and Verstappen enter this year’s race as co-favorites at +120 and are much closer in the standings than they were a season ago. Hamilton leads Verstappen by eight points after taking over the points lead at Hungary in July following Verstappen’s first-lap contact in a multi-car crash caused by Bottas.
If Hamilton wins and Verstappen finishes second, Hamilton could extend his points lead to as much as 16 points assuming he gets the fastest lap of the race. If Verstappen wins and gets the fastest lap while Hamilton finishes second, Verstappen and Hamilton will be tied in the points standings with Verstappen holding the tiebreaker with six wins to Hamilton’s four.
The odds of a driver other than Hamilton or Verstappen winning on Sunday are pretty slim, according to BetMGM. Sergio Perez is the No. 3 favorite at +1000 and Bottas is at a whopping +2200 to win. That’s just slightly better than McLaren’s Lando Norris at +2500.
Here are some of our best bets entering the first weekend after F1’s summer break. Sunday’s race begins a stretch of 12 races through Dec. 12.
George Russell to beat Nicholas Latifi (-400)
Let’s go with an easy one to start here. Russell is at +6600 to win the race, ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo at +8000. Russell isn’t going to win the race but he’s going to beat his Williams teammate once again.
There will be a safety car (-350)
We’re betting on a first lap crash either in the first turn or up the hill as the field tries to get itself sorted out. There’s typically a first-lap incident at Spa somewhere, and it’s a safe bet that if there is one that it’ll cause a caution.
Lewis Hamilton to win the race (+120)
If Hamilton starts behind Verstappen, we think Mercedes will have enough of an advantage on strategy to steal the track position. But with Mercedes’ pace matching Red Bull’s lately, the team could simply win the race outright.
Valtteri Bottas to win FP1 (+450)
This is a bet on that Mercedes’ pace and Bottas’ ability to win FP1. It’s not rare when he’s faster than Hamilton in the weekend’s first practice session. Can he be faster than Verstappen? Why not take the risk.
Valtteri Bottas to win pole (+600)
Bottas is due for a pole position. He’s having a miserable year and that could easily continue this weekend. But we’re going for the long shot here. The summer break could have been great for Bottas to refocus and realize that he’s in one of the three best cars in the series.