The world of Formula One spun on its axis last month when, for the first time since the final race of the 2013 season in Brazil, Mercedes was not represented on the podium by at least one of its drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
One does not think that Mercedes is about to cease being the dominant force in Formula One and one would argue that the Silver Arrows merit strong Belgian Grand Prix favouritism but, after they gave way to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in last year’s edition, one sees no reason to go diving into either Hamilton or Rosberg at their respective win odds.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the widely admired home of the Belgian Grand Prix since the mid 1980s, is a track that features several flat-out sections, two of which are uphill. That means that it favours Formula One’s most powerful cars and, in 2015, that means those flying machines with Mercedes engines – Force India, Lotus, Mercedes and Williams. So one has trawled through the various Belgian Grand Prix exotic markets to find what one thinks are the best investments.
One’s view is that Nico Hulkenberg to finish in the Belgian Grand Prix top 10 at odds of -149 with Ladbrokes is the most attractive bet on this year’s 11th race. Hulkenberg retired from the Hungarian Grand Prix four weeks ago but one is of the opinion that the result in Hungary is not worth a great deal with regards to the Belgian Grand Prix and one is more interested in how the German driver performed in the races immediately before the event that threw up several shocks.
Hulkenberg had put together three top-10 finishes – eighth in the Canadian Grand Prix, sixth in the Austrian Grand Prix and seventh in the British Grand Prix – before he failed to complete the Hungarian Grand Prix after losing his front wing. It appeared that the Hungaroring’s kerb were to blame for Hulkenberg’s accident, robbing him of another decent result – he was ahead of eventual runner-up Daniil Kyvat when he crashed into the tyre barriers at the first turn.
Force India has been working on its package and it launched its new car at the British Grand Prix in which Hulkenberg and his teammate, Sergio Perez, finished seventh and ninth respectively. Being behind the wheel of a Mercedes-powered car is likely to be advantageous through the Belgian Grand Prix and, provided the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps kerbs do not rip off Hulkenberg’s front wing, the odds of -149 about him collecting at least one championship points are tasty.
If one wants to strike a Belgian Grand Prix bet at greater than even money then the most attractive option is the odds of +550 with Boylesports that Williams driver Valtteri Bottas finishes first, second or third on Sunday.
One is not convinced that Ferrari is a million miles ahead of Williams in the battle to be the best of the rest behind Mercedes and the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is likely to favour the team of Bottas and Felipe Massa over the team of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. One cannot provide any killer statistics to support the bet but there is a value argument that should stick out like a sore thumb to anyone who has watched the opening 10 races of the Formula One season. The gap between Bottas and Vettel is insufficiently large for the former to be trading at odds of +550 and the latter to be trading at odds of -125 with Coral.
Nico Hulkenberg to finish top 10
23rd August 13:00 GMT
Valtteri Bottas to finish on the podium
23rd August 13:00 GMT
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