Raikkonen to put more pressure on Sebastian Vettel with win

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Formula 1 champion-elect Sebastian Vettel will come under increased pressure in Belgium as Kimi Raikkonen puts his track expertise to use.

The Lotus ace has won four of the last eight races at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and while results from years past are not always a reliable prediction tool, Lewis Hamilton’s win in Hungary last time out shows that track success can breed confidence.

Mercedes man Hamilton picked up his first win for the Silver Arrows in Hungary, having won three of the previous six outings at the Hungaroring, and this will boost the confidence of Raikkonen who boasts more Belgium wins than any of today’s drivers.

As ever, Vettel is the favourite to win the race at 7/4, but after being frustrated at being held up in the field in Hungary and seeing Hamilton’s strategy secure a much-needed win the German has been dragged back into a challenging title race.

Hamilton is the 3/1 second favourite to take the chequered flag but the 2008 champion has not tasted victory in consecutive races since June 2010 and has been downplaying his chances of late.

Raikonnen, meanwhile, is in a bullish mood after holding Vettel into third in Hungary and cutting the deficit at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to 38 points.

The Finn has taken second place in his last two races and will look to pounce on any uncertainty that may be creeping into Vettel’s mindset as the pressure of securing a fourth successive title intensifies.

Vettel’s record in Singapore, Japan, Korea and India means he is still clear favourite to retain the crown, but with the German struggling for wins in Belgium and Italy – the next two races on the calendar – this is Raikkonen’s best chance to crank up the pressure on his rival.

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

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.