After F1′s summer break the 2013 season resumes at one of the iconic Grand Prix, the Belgian race at Spa. Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers Championship,but after Lewis Hamilton’s win in Hungary there are signs that the Mercedes has finally overcome its tyre woes…

Recommendations

Lewis Hamilton to win pole Position 6/4 Totesport/Betfred

Kimi Raikkonen each way to win (top three pays) 6/1 Totesport/Betfred

The Spa Francorchamps circuit, home of the Belgian GP, is one of the most popular races for teams and fans alike. A fantastic spectacle, and the the longest lap of any modern F1 track. The Belgian Grand Prix is the eleventh round of the 2013 FIA F1 World Championship and comes after the teams’ summer break.

The Mercedes was the car to beat before the break and this race will be an important test of whether it has overcome its tyre management issues. Hungary indicated that it has, due to Pirelli reverting to a 2012 tyre specification with less intense wear, but the high loadings on the tyres at Spa will really test the Mercedes over a full race. The Mercedes will be very fast in Sectors 1 and 3 on the lap, with the long straights and a couple of low speed corners, while the Red Bull is always fast on the middle sector, where downforce is key.

In terms of qualifying, Mercedes has never had an issue with one lap pace. It is the fastest car and Hamilton the fastest one lap driver. Odds against with Betfred is a fair price for Hamilton to get pole at Spa. He has four pole positions so far this year, all in the most recent races. 6/4 is attractive

Qualifying is not hugely significant to final race result; the pole sitter has only won the race four times in the last 12 years. Overtaking is not a problem at Spa and the DRS wing makes it very straighforward anyway. In addition the weather forecast is very mixed, and it is indeed possible for part of the long track to be dry and another part wet.

We should therefore, in my opinion, be avoiding very short prices on pre-race favourites Vettel and Hamilton. They might well win but there are a lot of variables at Spa over a mixed weather weekend. Vettel in particular needs to cope with the Red Bull lack of straight line speed in the long fast speed sections.

As an alternative, the Lotus is a very consistent car and may well be able to benefit from its Double DRS device, to gain extra speed on the straights. As far as drivers form, Kimi Raikkonen has always been outstanding here, winning four times. Whilst it is tempting to select Grosjean at more than double the price of Raikkonen, and indeed Grosjean’s pace has been outstanding in recent races, he is prone to mistakes and Raikonenn is the safer choice.

If the race is dry, the Lotus is a team that will be thinking of doing the race on one stop, and it will be very well placed for at least a podium in such a scenario. An each-way bet is the way to go on Raikkonen, given the number of variables at play.

Recommendations

Lewis Hamilton to win pole Position 6/4 Totesport/Betfred

Kimi Raikonnen each way to win (top three pays) 6/1 Totesport/Betfred