After a short break, F1 returns this weekend and Roy the Boy looks towards trends in the Fastest Lap Market of the Belgian Grand Prix .
The Bulls May Struggle in Belgium
Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix is the 13th race of a 21 race season. Consequently we now have a fair idea of what to expect at all types of circuit. The slow ones like Monaco and Hungary, plus the street circuits such as Australia and Canada, have all seen a Red Bull driver top the time-sheets and claim the accolade of ‘fastest lap’.
And with Red Bull claiming six fastest laps during the current campaign, it’s easy to see how the odds compilers have made the mistake of making Ricciardo and Verstappen 7/2 joint-favourites in Sunday’s ‘fastest lap’ betting market.
But before investing your hard-earned consider this: Spa-Francorchamps is a high-speed venue very different to the tracks where Ricciardo & Verstappen have been topping the time sheets. Furthermore their cars have been massively unreliable this year, failing to see the chequered flag eight times.
Next up take a look at the form-book. It shows Mercedes have been superior here in recent times, starting from pole for the last five years, winning the race for the last three years and bagging three of the last four ‘fastest lap’ awards – Sebastian Vettel, in a Ferrari, netted the ‘prize’ last year.
Still happy to back a Red Bull driver to get the fastest lap award? Of course not, especially as the pair take a combined 44 percent out of the book.
Likely Winner Faces Double Trouble
As it stands, and the firms have this one right, Hamilton looks the most likely winner.
But the kicker with that theory is the race winners' inability to additionally bag the fastest lap here. Only twice in the last 11 years (the race was not staged in 2006) has the race winner also collected the fastest lap. What’s more Lewis has netted just 1 fastest lap in his past 18 race starts.
Suffice to say I’m striking Hamilton out of fastest lap calculations too.
And given no driver outside of the top three teams has taken a fastest lap this year, only three drivers are left in my calculations.
A Choice of Three
Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have taken a fastest lap apiece in 2018. Their car is sure to be competitive this weekend and both should have a great shot at the ‘fastest lap’. Given Raikkonen never wins, ironically I believe he has the better chance. At 8/1 the Finn has to be backed.
But the nap is Valtteri Bottas. The Finn has already claimed three fastest laps in 2018 and taken 5 in his last 17 starts. I believe his car will be the fastest of all this weekend and as Mercedes defined ‘second driver’, he’s more likely to take an all-important podium step which is not the highest one ... a positive as the last four ‘fastest lap’ honourees did not win but all stood on the podium.