News that 16-year-old Max Verstappen will become the youngest Formula One driver in history when he joins Torro Rosso in 2015 raised many an eyebrow this week, although Lewis Hamilton’s 17/20 favouritism to qualify in pole for the Belgian Grand Prix should be no less shocking.
The Mercedes man’s record in qualifying over the last six races on the calendar has been truly appalling, with no pole positions gained and back-row placings forced upon the Stevenage native in Germany and Hungary recently, due to successive Saturday brake failures.
Having taken that terrible recent qualifying form into account, a split-stake strategy must be employed at Spa-Francorchamps, with the vast majority of your hard-earned going straight on ‘All other drivers’, which excludes Hamilton, to take pole at the same 17/20 price.
This bet just begs to be backed after the 29-year-old’s sextet of failures, but a neat way to maximise your profits may be by punting on another couple of classy contenders at big prices.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, drivers’ championship leader Nico Rosberg, has emerged triumphant from five of the last six qualifying sessions, which makes a mockery of the German’s 6/4 odds of the same again in Stavelot.
‘All other drivers’ obviously includes Rosberg, so you’ll be covered if he makes it six poles from seven races, but Felipe Massa rates the best outside bet for success in this market at 16/1.
The Brazilian took pole in Austria just four races back, and with his Williams car packing practically the same punch as the Mercedes (they use the German manufacturer’s engines) managed the fastest lap in the previous Grand Prix in Canada.
Four-time champion Sebastien Vettel is another who holds a fine chance of making pole in Belgium, after sneaking onto the front row next to Rosberg last time out at the Hungaroring.
The 27-year-old may no longer have the fastest car on the grid, but 16/1 on Vettel making pole for a race he has won twice in the past three seasons looks big.