Max Verstappen and Red Bull ended Mercedes’ 2020 winning streak at last weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone. Can he cause another upset at this weekend’s Formula One Spanish Grand Prix? (Race: 9:10am ET Sunday).
Tires were the key to Verstappen’s victory in the second race at Silverstone. He started the race on hards and was able to gain track position by running a much longer first stint than the two Mercedes cars, both of whom struggled badly with wear on the medium tires.
Things didn’t really change much when Verstappen pitted for mediums. Mercedes still suffering from higher than expected wear even on their hard tires. Verstappen was able to control the race from there, through a final stint on hards, to record the first win for a non-Mercedes car, five races into the 2020 season.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas did take the final two podium places for Mercedes and there is no doubt that Hamilton and the team remain the clear favorites respectively to claim the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. There is a pattern emerging: the Mercedes cars eat up tires quicker than most when the track temperature is high.
Barcelona in mid-August will be very hot and it is a track layout that demands a lot from the tires. If Verstappen and Red Bull can pencil anywhere in as a potential venue for a further victory, it would be the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Verstappen won there in his debut race for the team in 2016 and has a solid chance of again doing so on Sunday. Is that enough to make him the pick to win in this preview’s concluding Spanish GP predictions?
Charles Leclerc made a one-stop strategy work to take fourth for Ferrari last weekend. Alexander Albon finished fifth for Red Bull, ahead of the Racing Points of Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg, who was again standing in for Sergio Perez. Then came the Renault of Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris’ McLaren and the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kyvat.
McLaren had some pace issues in the hotter conditions and they don’t seem particularly confident they will find a solution for this weekend’s event. Renault had problems extracting pace from the medium tire compound, and despite showing strong pace in qualifying, with Daniel Ricciardo fifth fastest, just over a tenth of a second slower than Verstappen, weren’t able to convert that into a similarly impressive points haul.
Ferrari are some way off the ultimate pace this year. That was already apparent in pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in February. Their package does seem to be kinder on its tires than most. Leclerc used that to his advantage to claim an excellent fourth at Silverstone. Maybe this weekend it will be Vettel who makes his mark.
Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the year to make way for the arrival of Carlos Sainz. There are already some questioning his motivation given that he has placed far behind Leclerc in three of the four races they have both finished.
Few drivers have taken top-six finishes at any circuit with the same consistency that Vettel has achieved at the Spanish Grand Prix. After retiring from his first race at the track with Toro Rosso in 2008, he has racked up 11 consecutive top-six placings, including a victory in 2011 and a fourth at last year’s event.
With question marks over the likely performance of some of the other top-six contenders, there is value to be found in backing him to keep his run going on Sunday.
As USAbetting has noted in our F1 previews before, the fact that the three slowest teams, Williams, Haas and Alfa Romeo, have little chance of making it into the points in normal circumstances (they have just two points finishes between them from a combined 30 driver starts to date) means that it is difficult to find value in the points finish market. Everyone else is odds-on, apart from Kyvat.
Not only has Kyvat got himself two points finishes so far this year but he also always seems to go well in Spain. He has finished in the points there in each of his last four seasons in the sport, and both qualified and finished ninth at last year’s race. For a third week in a row he looks a decent bet for a points finish.
So these are USAbetting’s F1 Spanish Grand Prix predictions and betting picks verdict:
- Bet on Max Verstappen to win the race @ best odds of +540 with 5Dimes. Looking through all the best sports betting sites, the next best line is +500 (5/1) with Bovada or Intertops.
- Back Sebastian Vettel to finish in the top six @ +350 (7/2) with 5Dimes.
- Expect Daniil Kyvat to finish in the points (a top 10 finish) @ +225 (9/4) with Bovada, Intertops, 5Dimes or BetOnline.