Formula 1 action returns after the European summer break at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium this weekend.
The race to this year’s drivers and constructors’ championships could not have been hotter prior to the month lay-off and the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix looms as a terrific opportunity for the pack leaders to get a leg up heading into the pointy end of the season.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is the early $2.40 favourite to win at Spa from Championship leader Lewis Hamilton ($2.60) and team mate Kimi Raikkonen ($8).
Spa always delivers one of the most exciting races of the Formula 1 season and with plenty on the line, Sunday’s race is sure to be no exception.
The 7.004km circuit boasts insanely fast long-radius corners, plenty of elevation changes and a number of quick left-right combinations; even the most minor of mistakes can ruin the entire weekend for drivers and teams alike.
While it has remained a stalwart of the Formula 1 season for all the category’s existence, the Belgian Grand Prix has also been an extremely difficult race to defend and only six drivers have won at Spa more than twice. Of the drivers set to begin in 2018, only Kimi Raikkonen (four times) is among this group.
Following an unlucky time of it in Austria and Britain, Hamilton stormed back into favouritism by winning the German and Hungarian Grand Prixs and the thirty-three-year-old now holds a 24-point buffer on Vettel. A Hamilton win in Belgium would begin to make things extremely difficult for the German.
Pole position has proved to be vital in recent seasons and the last three editions of the Belgian Grand Prix have fallen the way of the driver that has started that the front of the grid. Interestingly, Mercedes have started on pole in the five most-recent editions of the Belgian Grand Prix and Hamilton himself has started from the lead on four previous occasions.
The race looks likely to suit the Ferrari set up in 2018 and it could prove to be a glittering weekend for the prancing ponies. Vettel and Raikkonen have been performing extremely well as a team this season and have podiumed four times together in 2018.
It has not been the most consistent season on record for Daniel Ricciardo ($19), but the Aussie has typically performed well at Spa and has podiumed in the two most-recent editions of the race.
Most of Ricciardo’s poor fortunes in 2018 have been beyond his own doing and the talent has still managed to secure two Grand Prix wins.
Tip: Kimi Raikkonen to Win ($8)