There are eleven races left in the Formula One season, including this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. Heading into the twelfth race of the season, it is hard to talk about anyone other than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and his domination of the circuit.
In this preview of the F1 Belgian Grand Prix, there are a few things that are worth watching. We will talk about Verstappen’s run toward history, Lance Stroll’s season so far and expectations in this race, and three bets that you should definitely consider making prior to the race on Sunday. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty with the most important things to know about this weekend’s F1 Belgian Grand Prix.
Before we really start to get into the weeds, it helps to see where everyone stands heading into the F1 Belgian Grand Prix. Here are the odds for some of the must-watch drivers that will participate in the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, brought to you by our friends at bet365.
|Driver||Odds To Win||Podium Finish Odds||Top 6 Finish Odds|
|Lance Stroll (Canada)||+25000||+6600||+1600|
Stroll the Great Canadian Hope
The lone Canadian in the circuit, Stroll is the only hope for the Great White North. He has acquitted himself well this season through the first 11 races of the season. Stroll is currently ninth in the F1 standings with 45 points, 15 points back of Lando Norris in eighth.
His place in the standings isn’t terribly relevant right now given the domination of Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso. It is more about building momentum and setting the table for a strong 2024 season.
That said, it hasn’t been all moral victories for Stroll this season. Though he had DNFs in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, he has had a few finishes worth noting. His best outing came back in Australia, where he finished fourth. He also began the season with a sixth-place finish in Bahrain.
If there is a real downside here, it is his recent performance. Since finishing sixth in Spain back on June 4th, Stroll has had a disappointing run. He finished in ninth place in both Canada and Austria, 14th in Great Britain, and 10th in Hungary.
Stroll is an underdog whenever he is on the track, especially given the juggernauts at the top. Hopefully, he can continue to build on the momentum he had at the start of the season and put himself in a strong position going into next season.
Verstappen Run Toward History
Heading into just about any F1 race these days, the main story is always going to be about Max Verstappen. And why shouldn’t it be? He has complete domination in the driver standings this season, holding a 110-point lead over teammate and runner-up Sergio Perez. It is the kind of domination that goes down in the record books of F1 history.
Speaking of record books, Verstappen is close to reaching them in another way. He already set the record for most wins in one F1 season, racking up 15 in 22 races just a year ago. That was good enough for the fifth-best win percentage in a season as well (68.18%).
But the record everyone is paying attention to is the most consecutive wins in a season. That record belongs to Sebastian Vettel, who racked up an incredible nine in a row back in 2013. Verstappen is already tied for second with seven wins alongside legendary names like Alberto Ascari and Michael Schumacher.
At the rate he’s going, it is hard to tell just where he will lose. He has been dominant on a special level and there is seemingly no doubt of a victory heading into each event. Verstappen is the clear favourite to earn his eighth-straight win and put himself within one win of tying one of the most illustrious records in Formula One history.
The Emergence of Lando Norris
Through the first eight races of the season, there wasn’t a lot to say about Lando Norris’ performance. He finished 17th four times. The best he could manage was sixth back in Australia and his 13th-place finish in Canada didn’t leave anyone’s hopes very high.
Since then, Norris has become a fan favourite and one of the most exciting drivers to watch. There have been huge strides with his car and it can be seen in his performance in recent weeks. Following that 13th-place finish in Montreal, Norris has gone on a tear. He finished fourth in Austria and has followed that up with a pair of runner-up finishes in Great Britain and Hungary.
He has all the momentum in the world, though probably not enough to seriously threaten Verstappen. He is going to be one of the most interesting storylines throughout the rest of the season. He has climbed into eighth in the F1 standings, just 20 points back of Charles Leclerc.
While there is no hope of him finishing in the top four at this point – even Alonso and Hamilton have been too reliable to be overtaken by someone so far back – he could make a run up the standings if he keeps this up. It also bears watching because if he can finish out the year posting similar results, he may be one to watch entering 2024.
Three bets to consider
There are a lot more betting markets worth looking at other than just the outright winner. Then again, with Verstappen winning almost every race, bettors have to look in other directions to potentially make money on these races. The good news is that there are a few bets that definitely fit the bill.
Three drivers, in particular, bear watching this weekend. Unless you want to settle for a few bucks after another Verstappen win, these are the three picks that you should consider adding to your bet slip. All odds are provided by bet365.
Fernando Alonso podium finish (+5000). Though it is not preferable to have two podium finishes in this best bets section, there are two that are hard to ignore. This is one of them, as Alonso has been one of the best drivers on the circuit all year. He has eight podium finishes this season, including three straight finishing in third.
Alonso is tough to pick against in this position and it is hard to argue with the level of consistency that he has delivered for Aston Martin. While it may be tempting to go with the very hot Norris for the podium, Alonso has been putting in the results all season long and there’s no reason to think he will stop. Setbacks for his team in qualifying could have a knock on this pick, though.
Alex Albon to finish top 6 (+6600). It’s all too easy to look at the top of the standings and go with the proven commodities. If you want something that is a bit off the beaten path but not too crazy, keep an eye on Albon to finish in the top 6. He’s been underrated in his last four races, finishing seventh in the Canadian Grand Prix and eighth at the British Grand Prix.
He’s been driving well for Mercedes and a top 6 finish is not out of the realm of possibility. Don’t let his pair of 11th-place finishes in his last three races dissuade you. He’s been trending up since the Canadian Grand Prix and a solid finish here could set the table for the second half of the season.
Lewis Hamilton podium finish (+150). Off the track, Hamilton may very well be the most famous F1 driver in the world. Though Verstappen is the unquestioned king of F1 this season, Hamilton shouldn’t be slept on. He has three podiums in his last five starts and came close to a fourth by just narrowly missing out at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
He’s been consistently solid and doesn’t stay off the podium for very long. He and his Mercedes teammate George Russell are having an otherwise solid season for their team, even if it is completely overshadowed by the dominant performance of Verstappen, Sergio Perez, and Red Bull.