The Nürburgring in Germany returns to the Formula One calendar for the first time since 2013 as the host of this weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix (Race: 8.10am ET, Sunday).
The reorganization of the season has given opportunities to a number of different circuits to host events, and the Nürburgring is one of them. The famous circuit hosted its first championship Grand Prix in 1951 and has hosted another 39 since.
Of the current grid, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are the only two drivers to have previously won there, although a further five have also raced at the circuit in F1.
Hamilton is the favorite for this weekend’s race with the best of the betting sites despite his failure to convert a fifth consecutive pole position into victory in Russia two weeks ago. A harshly judged pre-race infringement gave him a stop-and-go penalty that meant the best he could do was third, behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and the winner, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
The win saw Bottas cut Hamilton’s championship advantage to 44 points with seven races to go, but unless Hamilton continues to suffer similar misfortune, a seventh drivers’ title remains firmly within his grasp. Bottas just hasn’t shown the necessary pace to usurp him in the standings on performance alone.
There is a pretty good chance there will be rain at the Nürburgring this weekend, and that might just open the way to a possible victory for Verstappen. Hamilton is himself very good in the rain, probably the best on the grid, but wet and changeable conditions often produce strange scenarios around safety cars that could bring Verstappen into serious play. This Eifel GP preview believes that there is solid value in backing him to top the podium on Sunday.
Sergio Perez came home fourth for Racing Point in Russia, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who was impressively able to get a mediocre car up into the top six. Renault’s Esteban Ocon, the AlphaTauris of Daniil Kyvat and Pierre Gasly, and Alexander Albon’s Red Bull filled out the top 10.
For the second Grand Prix in a row, Lance Stroll’s race ended in the barriers in Russia after a first lap mistake pitched him into the wall. His teammate Perez showed the pace of the Racing Point by taking fourth and, while it is again Perez who is likely to be the quicker of the team’s two drivers this weekend, Stroll also has a good chance of getting into the top six.
Stroll finished fourth in both Hungary and Spain at tracks with similar high-downforce characteristics to the Nürburgring. He has also successfully brought the car home to a couple more top-six finishes this season. He won two of three races there during his European Formula 3 title-winning season in 2016 and can be fancied to again perform well.
Vettel was the winner the last time F1 came to the Nürburgring in 2013, with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, then teammates at Lotus, filling the two remaining places on the podium. None of that trio are likely to be anywhere near the top three this time around, but Vettel does have a solid chance of getting into the points.
Ferrari are having a terrible season and are on course for their worst constructors’ championship finish in 40 years. Leclerc has clearly had the upper hand on Vettel, dragging the car to two podiums and a further two top-six finishes in comparison to Vettel’s solitary sixth-place finish in Hungary, and amassing more than three times as many points.
Leclerc will probably again be the better-performing of the two Ferrari drivers this weekend. Vettel should have enough pace to get himself up into the points at what represents a home race for him. That sixth in Hungary was followed by a seventh in Spain at two circuits that, as discussed in this F1 Eifel Grand Prix preview, have much in common with the Nürburgring.
So these are our Formula One Eifel GP predictions and betting picks:
- Bet on Max Verstappen to win the race @ +415 with Bookmaker. Next best is +400 with Bovada and Intertops.
- Take Lance Stroll to finish in the top six @ +185 with BetOnline. This is tricky to locate on their site: Go to ‘other sports’ / ‘auto racing’ / ‘motor sports’ (not the ‘Formula 1’ link!)
- Odds above evens for Vettel to come home in the points look pretty attractive. Back Sebastian Vettel to finish in the points (a top 10 finish) @ +125 with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.