A fortnight on from Lewis Hamilton’s commanding victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, the 2020 Formula One season resumes this weekend for round seven, with the Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton holds a useful 37-point lead at the top of the standings, having won four of this season’s six races. The six-time champ is 2/5 favourite to win on Sunday, ahead of Max Verstappen at 5/1 and Valtteri Bottas at 9/2.
The Mercedes ace is homing in on a seventh-world title, with Verstappen and team-mate Bottas his only realistic opposition.
Can anyone stop the Brit this Sunday around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit? Here are five things to watch out for this weekend…
Tyre woe for Mercedes?
The only time Mercedes have slipped up this year was at Silverstone, when Pirelli’s softer tyre selection saw them beaten by Verstappen’s Red Bull at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Pirelli will be bringing the same tyre compounds this weekend, and though Spa doesn’t have the same level of tyre-shredding corners that Silverstone does, it’s high-speed nature may still warrant concern for the Silver Arrows.
But this may all prove academic, for a classically Spa reason…
Rain in the Ardennes Forest?
That’s right, rarely does a Belgian Grand Prix go by without the intervention of rain, and this weekend looks true to form.
We haven’t had a wet race yet this season, but showers are expected throughout the weekend, with those chances rising on Sunday.
Can Bottas bounce back?
If we’re to see a championship fight this season, Bottas needs to start clawing in to Hamilton’s lead in the standings.
After winning the opening round in Austria last month, the Finn has been comfortably beaten by his superstar team-mate five races on the spin.
And despite driving a vastly superior car, Bottas has fallen behind Verstappen in the standings too. There’s still time for the eight-time Grand Prix winner to turn it around, and a big result this Sunday would be ideal timing to kick-start a title scrap.
More struggles for Ferrari?
The Italian squad have largely written this season off already, despite Charles Leclerc performing wonders to grab a pair of podium finishes this term.
Much of the Red team’s struggles appears to be a lack of grunt. They boasted sensational straight-line pace last season – dominating this race 12 months ago – but a controversial directive from the FIA forced Ferrari to make some tweaks in the off-season, which appears to have reigned in the prancing horse.
If Ferrari are still struggling for top-end performance, they could be brutally exposed on Spa’s long-straights. Leclerc is 9/2 to somehow haul his SF1000 onto the podium once again.
Who wins the midfield scrap?
While Hamilton, Verstappen and Bottas are dominating at the front, behind them we’ve been treated to a battle royale in the midfield this season.
Racing Point, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Alpha Tauri have been putting on some sensational scraps this term, and that should continue this weekend.
The controversial Racing Point is still a sore topic of debate for many, but the Silverstone-based squad have often gone well at Spa and are bringing an update this weekend. Sergio Perez is fourth in the betting for a top-six finish at 4/9, while he’s 27/10 for a podium finish.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing