Lewis Hamilton’s four-race winning streak is judged almost certain to end at Spa, with the Drivers’ Championship leader a 16/1 outsider to add to his 2010 and 2015 successes on the iconic circuit.
The three-time champion starts at the back of the grid following what was officially a 55-place penalty for engine changes and, after qualifying on pole, his Mercedes teammate and main title rival Nico Rosberg is a short as 1/2 to capitalise with victory.
Yet here are four reasons why it may prove shrewd to oppose the German in the race winner market:
He’s out of form
Since establishing himself as the Drivers’ Championship favourite by winning each of the opening four races and building a 43-point advantage – he has since drifted to 3/1 to emphasise his demise – Rosberg has claimed first place once in eight outings to fall 19 points behind his former karting foe.
It isn’t just Hamilton profiting
That loss of momentum is alarming enough, but what is really concerning is that he isn’t merely taking second behind Hamilton, he is finishing further back. One of his seven failures came in second and one was a retirement, with the others in third, fourth (twice), fifth and seventh.
So while Mercedes dominance is often used to suggest that all their drivers have to do at each Grand Prix is beat one another, it isn’t quite that simple. Rosberg has been outperformed by at least one member of another team at six of the last eight races, trailing both Red Bulls last time out in Germany.
His pole conversion rate isn’t great
One difference between the Rosberg of the opening months and the one who has given more and more leeway to Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship is that he hasn’t been turning qualifying pace into triumph on Sundays.
Whereas he achieved this in China, Russia and Azerbaijan, his recent Hungary and Germany poles translated into second and fourth-place finishes, with Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo (8/1 to prevail in Belgium) and Max Verstappen (5/1) bettering him in the latter.
He’s never delivered in Belgium before
Rosberg has raced at Spa nine times in his Formula One career but, despite being classified on each of those occasions, he has never won, and has only even made it onto the podium twice.
He has been denied once from the front of the grid there before too in 2014, and back then it was Ricciardo rather than Hamilton who benefitted.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.