Verstappen used superior strategy to outfox Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at a sweltering Silverstone, while his Red Bull also did a better job of looking after its tyres than the Silver Arrows.
Hamilton Favourite to Bounce Back
All the pre-season testing was conducted at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo near Barcelona, so it’s a track all the teams and drivers know intimately. That means there are rarely any surprise results at the circuit, although Verstappen scored his maiden F1 victory there on his Red Bull debut in 2016 after the Mercedes collided on the first lap.
2/5 to claim pole position for the race, but his Mercedes team-mate Bottas will surely be a popular choice at
2/1. The Finn has already taken two poles in this season’s five races and dominated qualifying in Barcelona last year, setting the fastest time in all three segments of the session.
Verstappen and the Mercedes drivers have shared the podium in three of the last four races – Bottas having suffered a puncture in the British Grand Prix that dropped him from second to 11th with two laps to go.
Albon Goes After a Podium Finish
In a normal race, that trio are all but certain to fill the first three places, but value seekers in the podium finish market might consider Alex Albon at
Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate has struggled in qualifying this year giving him work to do in the races. But the Anglo-Thai driver caught the eye with a string of overtakes last week which lifted him from ninth on the grid to fifth by the finish.
Albon might have won the season-opener in Austria but for colliding with Hamilton while battling for second place. He finished fourth at the same circuit the following week and climbed from 13th to fifth in Hungary subsequently.
Improving Renault Ready for Barca
Renault are gradually pushing their way towards the front of the midfield scrap. Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth in the British Grand Prix and qualified an excellent fifth last week.
Strategy errors and a spin meant the Aussie ended the race down in 14th, but that poor result has probably contributed to his odds of
9/4 for a top-six finish this weekend.
The car looked sharp in pre-season around the Barcelona circuit and that price looks to offer value.
Sergio Perez returns for Racing Point this weekend after missing the two Silverstone races following positive Covid-19 tests. His stand-in Nico Hulkenberg qualified third last week but finished only seventh, as the team continue to struggle to live up to the promise of their single-lap pace.
*All odds correct at time of writing