Formula One: Hamilton grid penalty hands Rosberg open goal

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Lewis Hamilton will be up against it at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix with the Brit set to incur a grid penalty following an engine change and is set to start from the back of the grid.

The championship leader has been expecting the penalty for some time, following a string of reliability issues earlier this year, but nevertheless the decision all but hands team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg a free shot at victory around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Hamilton is highly likely to start right at the back on Sunday, and the bookies’ odds reflect the job in front of him, with the Brit 4/1 instead of his usual odds-on price for victory.

Rosberg is the 8/15 favourite, and the German will gladly take an easy drive to victory after suffering a bruising few months.

Hamilton has won six of the last seven races, turning a 43-point deficit into a 19-point lead while leaving Rosberg in no doubt that he is arguably at the peak of his powers.

The three-time champion’s demotion doesn’t do much good for viewers hoping of a frantic scrap between the Mercedes team-mates, but should something happen to Rosberg on Sunday, that may open the door for either of the Red Bull drivers, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen each an 8/1 shot.

Ferrari’s hopes have faded as the season has gone on, with Sebastian Vettel 10/1 to win and Kimi Raikkonen at 25s.

But some may just find those Hamilton odds too good to ignore, despite his handicap.

The Brit has been sensational of late, and Spa is one of, if not the best, tracks for overtaking on.

And sometimes a driver reaches such a pinnacle, that as long as they’re in the race, you feel they could win. Ayrton Senna had it, Michael Schumacher had it and so too does Lewis Hamilton.

How far through the field Lewis gets remains to be seen, but watching him attempt to carve his way through the pack at one of the greatest racetracks in the world could be pretty special viewing.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.