There’s a Sprint in Belgium, but Max Can Sprint and Stay
From Hungary, Formula 1 teams and drivers have proceeded directly to Belgium and the classic Ardennes roller coaster circuit, Spa-Francorchamps.
The Belgian Grand Prix is the last race before the summer break. Belgium is hosting the premier class of motor racing for the 68th time this year. The Belgian Grand Prix has been contested at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps 55 times.
The record winner on the 7.004 km circuit is Michael Schumacher, with a total of six victories. Ayrton Senna comes next with five wins in Belgium. Jim Clark, Kimi Räikkönen, and Lewis Hamilton have four each. Lewis has had more wins in this event than any other driver still active in the sport.
In terms of qualifying, Lewis leads the way with six pole positions to his name. Of the other active drivers, only Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, and Carlos Sainz have ever started from pole position at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Belgian Grand Prix is the third race this season – after Azerbaijan and Austria – to feature a sprint race on Saturday. There will be three more ‘sprints’ during 2023: Qatar, the USA, and Brazil.
Norris to Reveal Further Pace
Sprint races throw open more betting opportunities during a Formula 1 weekend. However, Max Verstappen is un-opposable in all of them, including Sunday races. Last weekend he took his seventh successive race victory. Little wonder he is 2/7 to win the Belgian Grand Prix and 4/11 to take the sprint contest.
A seemingly inevitable gold medal for Verstappen leaves just two vacant podium steps, and we think Lando Norris is a good bet for one of them. His McLaren has been a revelation in recent races, and a solid second place in Hungary shows it is no one-trick pony.
The British driver’s prior outing in Silverstone is the pertinent form line. His second spot there confirms fast tracks are to the Mercedes-powered car’s liking and, with Spa being an ultra-fast low downforce circuit, Norris is the obvious choice for a silver or bronze medal.
Going Against the Trend
But Spa does have a habit of serving up a curve ball. It is renowned for its changeable weather, particularly heavy showers. Resultantly there has been Safety Car intervention for six of the last seven years and the proposition is quoted on 2/7 this weekend.
We think the bookmakers have overreacted. Over the course of a decade, the Safety Car usage is 6/10. And, as the 2021 race started and finished behind the Safety Car after just three races were completed, the stats should be readjusted to 5/9.
The current weather forecast is for fine weather on Sunday, and therein we consider the 5/2 on offer about ‘no Safety Car’ the better call at the prices.
Carlos a Top-6 King
This year Carlos Sainz has finished in the top-6 six times from 11 starts. The Ferrari number two is currently outscoring his teammate and, while a victory during 2023 is massively improbable, a podium finish is on the horizon.
There are form indicators to suggest his car is better suited to higher-speed tracks than the slower ones, and he could score heavily on Sunday. At best odds of 5/4 for a top-6 finish, he is certainly a good bet.
- Podium Finish for Lando Norris - 17/20 BetUK
- No Safety Car - 5/2 bet365
- Top Six Finish for Carlos Sainz - 5/4 BetUK