F1 Belgian Grand Prix Odds, Expert Picks & Predictions: 2 Bets for Max Verstappen & Lewis Hamilton

F1 Belgian Grand Prix Odds, Expert Picks & Predictions: 2 Bets for Max Verstappen & Lewis Hamilton article feature image

Mark Thompson/Getty Images. Pictured: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes

The F1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa on Sunday morning (9 a.m. ET, ESPN) is the last race on the Formula 1 calendar before a four-week hiatus for summer break.

Also, due to the cancellation of the F1 Emilia Romagna GP back in May, we are now more than halfway through the 2023 F1 season, having completed 11 of 22 (originally 23) races to date.

F1 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying on Friday started off with a wet track, and all drivers were on the Intermediate tires. Lap times were slow to start out in Q1 as the slick track caused numerous drivers to tiptoe around the corners to keep from locking up.

Thankfully, the rain had blown through, and with each successive lap, the racing line continued to dry up and the lap times continued to get faster and faster.

Moving into Q2, there was a clear dry racing line that had developed, but the cars all stayed out on the Inters to start the session. By the end of Q2, everyone was back on slick tires, and lap times started to drop into the low 1:52s and high 1:51s.

For the first time this season, all 10 drivers from the top five teams in the Constructors' World Championship made it through into Q3.

Max Verstappen earned the fastest lap during Q3 with a 1:46.168.

Simply unstoppable 'round Spa! ๐Ÿš€

Max Verstappen set the sectors alight with the fastest lap of qualifying ๐Ÿคฏ#BelgianGP#F1@redbullracingpic.twitter.com/FYGaeksUH2

โ€” Formula 1 (@F1) July 28, 2023

However, he will have to start today's race in P6 due to a five-place grid penalty for going over his gearbox allotment for the season.

The benefactor of this is Charles Leclerc, who will start on pole for the second time this season.

Joining the Ferrari on the front row is Sergio Perez, who seems to have put his qualifying woes behind him.

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F1 Picks for Belgian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen Aiming for 8 Straight

Max Verstappen has finished on the podium of every race this season, and he has not lost a race since April 30.

For context, MLB was only a month into their season and the Pittsburgh Pirates were leading the NL Central division back then.

Verstappen has been the best driver in the world for three straight years, and he has a chance to break a seemingly impossible record in a few races if he keeps on winning. He is currently tied for second all-time in consecutive race wins in Formula 1 with seven straight.

Back in 2013, Sebastian Vettel, who was also driving for Red Bull Racing back then, won the last nine races of the season to set the all-time record. I am certain that Max knows where he stands and how close he is to the record.

Verstappen has looked dominant all season long, and I just donโ€™t see it stopping this weekend. There was a bit of a scare during qualifying when he was the last one to advance out of Q2, but he came back in Q3 and posted the fastest lap by 0.82 seconds.

Red Bull were smart to take the five-place grid penalty here at Spa. The track is set up for overtakes and for Max to drive his way back to the front of the grid. Just last year, Verstappen came all the way back from P14 on the grid to win the race.

Will Max win every remaining race this season? Probably not.

Will he finish on the podium every race this season? Again, probably not.

Things go wrong, drivers have off days, and crashes unfortunately do happen. But not this weekend.

I like Max Verstappen to win his eighth consecutive race, and I am more than happy laying the juice during this historic run.

The Pick: Max Verstappen โ€“ Race Winner (-285 at WynnBET, 3 units)

Lewis Hamilton Gets Back on the Podium

Lewis Hamilton is on the last year of his Mercedes contract and has more than once complained about the lack of pace and the underperforming Mercedes W14 car this year.

There are rumors out there, however, that suggest the two sides have come to an agreement on the financial terms and the length of the deal. Nothing has been signed or is official, but it looks as if he will stay with Mercedes.

Coming back to this season, it has been an uphill battle for the team, but the talent of Hamilton has been on full display. Lewis has four podium finishes this season, 10 top-6 finishes, and he can leapfrog Fernando Alonso for third place in the F1 Drivers Standings with a top showing this weekend.

Hamilton โš”๏ธ Perez

Both drivers were giving it everything in this mini-battle! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ#BelgianGP#F1Sprintpic.twitter.com/36Gz2VdVlP

โ€” Formula 1 (@F1) July 29, 2023

Hamilton in his illustrious career has 195 podium finishes and 103 wins, including four at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The track history is there to be confident in, as well as Hamilton starting P3 on the grid.

During qualifying, Lewis finished with the third-best time of Q1, the sixth-best lap time of Q2, and ultimately finished with the fourth-best lap time of Q3.

As of right now, the forecast for Sunday during the race is partly cloudy with only a 25% chance of rain. This is great news for Mercedes; their new lower plane drag wing will gain significant top speed as compared to the higher plane wing, but it will suffer in the corners and in wet conditions.

Both Hamilton and Russell struggled during FP1 on Friday morning, when the track was wet and they were both more than seven seconds slower on their lap times than the top times from the session.

I like Hamilton, starting P3 on the grid, to finish on the podium in Belgium.

The Pick: Lewis Hamilton โ€“ Podium Finish (-140 on BetMGM, 1 unit)

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