Ferrari have won at Spa-Francorchamps in each of the last two years but it would take a brave bettor indeed to back anyone but Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to win this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix 2020 (Race: 9.10am ET Sunday).
Hamilton took his fifth win of the season in Spain two weeks ago to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to 37 points. Concerns about Mercedes’ high tire wear on hot conditions proved unfounded as he raced away from pole to take a comfortable victory.
At last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, Ferrari were able to parlay their clear outright power advantage into a front-row lockdown in qualifying followed by a race-day victory for Charles Leclerc. With that advantage now gone thanks to tightened regulations, both they and their customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo are likely to be off the pace this weekend.
Red Bull have been Mercedes’ closest challengers throughout the season to date, albeit only in the hands of Max Verstappen, who again managed to get himself between the two Mercedes drivers to finish second in Spain. Valtteri Bottas had to settle for third.
The Honda power unit in the back of the Red Bull is unlikely to be able to match the straight-line speed of the Mercedes unit at Spa. Rain is always a possibility, and that might somewhat equalize things given Verstappen’s ability in wet conditions, but there is also a solid chance his run of five consecutive podium finishes following his retirement in the season-opener could come to an end if Racing Point can put together a clean weekend.
The Racing Point package bears a number of similarities to last year’s title-winning Mercedes, with one of those similarities even earning them a 15-point deduction following a protest from Renault. That should make it a quick car at Spa, with long straights and sweeping corners to contend with.
The team qualified and finished fourth and fifth in Spain, with Lance Stroll reversing the qualifying order to finish ahead of Sergio Perez. They always went well in Belgium under their previous name of Force India. They took two fourth-place finishes in 2012 and 2016, and even a second with Giancarlo Fisichella in 2009.
Perez led a fifth and sixth place finish for the team in 2018 and then came home sixth himself at last year’s race. He has a solid chance of getting them onto the podium this time around.
Carlos Sainz claimed sixth for McLaren at his home race in Spain, with Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari, Alexander Albon’s Red Bull, the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris’ McLaren filling the remaining points places.
Renault endured a disappointing weekend in Spain, failing to score for the first time this season. With both Racing Point and McLaren swiftly pulling away from them in the constructors’ championship, they will be keen to score some good points this weekend.
Lucky enough for them, they have somewhat of a Spa specialist in the form of Daniel Ricciardo, a previous winner at the circuit and a two-time podium finisher as well.
The Australian also qualified in an excellent sixth at last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, but he was hit going into the first corner and was unable to recover from there to get into the points. With a little more luck, a second top-six finish of the season isn’t out of the question on Sunday.
McLaren secured their third double-points finish in the six races to date in Spain, and they have a decent chance of producing a repeat performance in Belgium. They have had good pace all year, and while fortune hasn’t always shone brightly on them in terms of converting that into consistent points finishes for both drivers, it is a good indicator of their ability to compete inside the top 10.
Sainz hasn’t always had the best of luck at Spa in the past, so he might just be due some this time around. Norris finished on the podium in Belgium in F2 and only narrowly missed out on the points in his first outing there in a Formula One car last year. McLaren have a shot at another double points finish on Sunday.
As for our assault on the leading offshore sportsbooks, these are USAbetting’s F1 Belgian Grand Prix predictions and betting tips for this big-race preview:
- Bet on Sergio Perez to finish in the top three (podium finish) @ best odds of +300 (3/1) with Bovada, Intertops, BetOnline or 5Dimes.
- Back Daniel Ricciardo to finish in the top six @ +200 (2/1) with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.
- Expect McLaren to secure a double points finish (both drivers in top 10) @ -150 with Bovada.