The F1 season resumes after the summer break at the iconic Spa track. Following his win in Hungary, with Hamilton only 4th, Sebastian Vettel is now 14 points ahead in the drivers championship going into the second half of the season

Sunday 27th August

The F1 season resumes after the summer break at the iconic Spa track. Following his win in Hungary, with Hamilton only 4th, Sebastian Vettel is now 14 points ahead in the drivers championship going into the second half of the season. Both drivers have four wins apiece so far this year.

Eleven races into the world championship fight, a clear pattern has emerged in the performance of the Ferrari and Mercedes cars.

While they are closely matched everywhere, there is a trend in terms of which car performs best on which types of track.

Tight and twisty tracks, such as the last race in Hungary, favour Ferrari. The red car is already an easier car to work with, with a wider operating window. On top of that, it has a more effective high down-force package.

In trying to match the Ferrari on these types of tracks, the Mercedes runs up against its performance limits, and as the drivers push to try to match the Ferrari, the car becomes difficult to drive, prone to snaps at the rear in some corners, under-steer in others.

As Hamilton said in Hungary: “When you drive it to a certain limit the car feels fine, but then you see Ferrari’s time, you think you need to push further. So you drive 100% and the car is more on a knife edge. You are taking it into places you don’t want to go.”

The Mercedes, by contrast, excels on flowing, high-speed tracks, such as Silverstone, where Hamilton dominated. This is because it has better aerodynamic efficiency.

So how might this pan out over the next few races? Mercedes should have the edge at the next two races in Belgium and Italy, on the classic Spa-Francorchamps and Monza tracks, giving Hamilton a golden opportunity to head into the Asian part of the season with an advantage.

Odds for this race are

Hamilton 8/11
Vettel 4/1
Bottas 5/1
Bar 14/1

Valtteri Bottas has two wins this season, and has steadily improved such that the Championship has looked to verge on a three way fight at times. Whilst not quite having the outright pace of Hamilton he isn’t error prone and at 5/1 with Coral can capitalise if anything happens to his team-mate on a track where a Mercedes 1-2 has to be a possibility.