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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Look for a late charge from Valtteri Bottas in Belgian GP

Strategy can help Finn set Spa fastest lap

Valtteri Bottas in action at Spa
1 of 1

Belgian Grand Prix
Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1, 2.10pm Sunday

A late rain shower injected some unpredictability into Belgian Grand Prix qualifying.

For the second race weekend in a row, Lewis Hamilton took advantage of the slippery conditions to grab pole position at a track where Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel had looked to hold the upper hand. It was the latest in a string of stellar performances that have made 1-2 title favourite Hamilton look increasingly likely to claim his fifth world championship this season.

The renamed Racing Point Force India team have lost the points they gained as Force India this season following a takeover that secured their future.

But the Silverstone-based outfit are in good shape to recover with Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez starting third and fourth after making the most of strategic slip-ups by Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bull drivers.

Top tip
Valtteri Bottas fastest lap 11-4
It has been a frustrating season for Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and thanks to exceeding his yearly allocation of engine parts the Finn will be forced to start 19th on the grid at Spa.

Bottas' Mercedes is in a different league to the lower-order cars starting ahead of him and odds of 8-13 for a top-six finish may tempt big-hitters.

He is 6-1 for a podium finish but to reach those heights Bottas would likely need some drama to befall Hamilton, Vettel or Raikkonen.

The most attractive bet at a decent price is for Bottas to set the fastest race lap.

From his lowly grid berth, the team will almost certainly start him on a more durable tyre compound than the leaders and aim to go as deep into the race with them as possible. That would allow him to switch to faster rubber for a late charge and have a better chance to overtake high-end cars on slower tyres.

With a lighter fuel load that should give Bottas a much quicker car than those ahead of him in the closing laps and the 11-4 for the Finn to set the fastest lap of the race looks generous.

Bottas has already gone fastest in the race three times this season, and in the last seven events Daniel Ricciardo in Hungary, Hamilton in Germany and Max Verstappen in Monaco have all recorded the fastest lap using the same strategy after starting lower down than planned.

Other markets
Haas double points finish 11-8
Sergey Sirotkin to beat Lance Stroll 5-6
Romain Grosjean's disastrous start to the season was beginning to affect his confidence but things are starting to come right for the Haas driver.

The Frenchman has managed just three points finishes all season but they all came in the last four races and he will be confident of improving that record from fifth on the grid in Belgium.

His teammate Kevin Magnussen is a fine eighth in the championship after a consistent season and the Dane has scored in four of the last five races.

Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin is the only driver yet to get off the mark for the season but his recent performances compare well with his Williams teammate Lance Stroll's.

Both Williams drivers have seen the chequered flag in five of the last seven races, and in four of those Sirotkin has finished ahead. He's worth supporting in a match bet.

V Bottas fastest lap
2pts 11-4 general
Haas double points finish
1pt 11-8 Sky Bet
S Sirotkin to beat L Stroll
1pt 5-6 bet365 

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In the last seven races three drivers have recorded the fastest lap using the same strategy
E.W. Terms
Sky bet