Formula One returns from its summer break this weekend with defending world drivers champion Sebastian Vettel leading the way into the closing half of the season.
And it’s the legendary Belgian Grand Prix at the well-loved Spa Francorchamps Circuit, which always produces exciting racing.
The circuit, one of the few remaining long-standing European races, is loved by drivers and fans alike, with the inclement and unpredictable weather one of the main causes of many exhilarating races over the years.
The ever changing rainfall patters caused a few headaches for team principles and drivers, with a few surprising grid positions ahead of Sunday’s race.
Perennial strugglers Marussia and Caterham took a gamble towards the end of the first qualifying session and switched to dry tyres with the damp track drying out as the seconds ticked by.
This allowed Marussia pair Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde of Caterham, all secure a rare spot in the second qualifying session, albeit finishing 16th, 15th and 14th respectively.
Marussia have never scored a single point in F1 since their inception as Virgin Racing back in 2010 and although this remains highly unlikely, stranger things have happened in the sport. They couldn’t be better placed and with heavy rain forecast, there could be a large number of retirements on Sunday meaning such a turn of events is not out of the question.
You can get odds of 66/1 with Boylesports on either Chilton or Bianchi finishing in the top ten come the end of the race.
The topsy-turvy grid sees Toro Rosso pair John Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo start right towards the back alongside Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas of Williams and Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez.
Race Winning Odds
Lewis Hamilton grabbed a dramatic last-minute pole position in qualifying after the track rapidly dried out following the final qualifying session but it is Sebastian Vettel, who starts second, who is favourite to win the race.
He won the race in 2011 and came second last year and the best prices you’ll find on him taking the race again this year are with William Hill at 7/4.
Mercedes have shown a real improvement in race pace over the last few months and have won two of the last three races over the summer. Add to that, Hamilton’s total domination of qualifying which has seen him secure the last four pole positions, then he is also a safe bet for race victory on Sunday.
He’s being priced at 5/2 with Totesport to collect his second race victory on the bounce and close the gap on Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Aside from those two, the bookies are offering much longer odds on the rest of the field but with a wet race forecast, a plucky bet could bring in good returns with a surprise winner.
Kimi Raikkonen has always loved Spa, winning the race no less than four times with McLaren and Ferrari, before his Formula One sabbatical. He’s picked up a couple of second places of in the last two races and could be a good punt with Sportingbet at 14/1.
The race gets underway at 1pm on Sunday afternoon and you can see it live on BBC One or Sky Sports F1.
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