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Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Bottas can get Spa weekend off to a perfect start

Hamilton odds-on in Belgium

Valtteri Bottas should be competitive at Spa this weekend
1 of 1

Belgian Grand Prix practice
Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1, 9am Friday

Sebastian Vettel stretched his world championship lead from one point to 14 with his win in Hungary, but you can expect Mercedes to hit back as F1 returns from its summer break in the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend.

The magnificent Spa-Francorhamps circuit with its long straights and sweeping curves could hardly be more different from the twisty Hungaroring, and Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas's machines will enjoy stretching their legs on the run through the Ardennes forest.

Hamilton is odds-on favourite for Sunday's race with Vettel seen as his biggest threat. Both men have won four races this season but neither has yet been able to put together back-to-back victories.

The Englishman is also an odds-on chance to top the times in the opening practice session, but he looks a weaker favourite in that market having managed the feat just once in the last four grand prix weekends.

After a steady start at Mercedes, Bottas has dragged himself into the championship fight with five straight podium finishes. It's true Hamilton gifted him third place in Hungary, but it was fair payback after Bottas had dutifully switched places earlier in the race.

Bottas topped the opening session at Silverstone - another flowing, high-speed circuit - and he could be a spot of value at 4-1.

Spa isn't the type of circuit where Red Bull might be expected to shine given the power deficit of their Renault engines, but Daniel Ricciardo has an excellent record at the track, while Dutchman Max Verstappen can expect raucous support from the fans.

They are both a bit too short in the market to warrant betting interest, though.

Recommendation
V Bottas fastest in practice one
1pt 4-1 Betfair, Paddy Power

After a steady start at Mercedes, Bottas has dragged himself into the championship fight with five straight podium finishes
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