Belgian Grand Prix 2023
Location: Stvelot, Belgium
Course: Circuit de Spa Francorchamps
Course Length: 7.004 KM
Belgian Grand Prix Race Preview
Qualifying turned out to be the most compelling part of the Grand Prix weekend at Hungaroring last weekend. However, we'll have double the opportunity to see some competitive racing this weekend as it's a sprint weekend. It's a unique format as a result, with qualifying having already occurred on Friday at 11 am ET. On Saturday, the traditional day for qualifying, we have the sprint shootout (qualifying for the sprint race) and the sprint race itself. Unlike past seasons, the results of the sprint stand alone and have no effect on the grid Sunday. Finally, we have the traditional race Sunday.
With the logistics out of the way, it's time to talk about expectations. Unless this is your first F1 race of the season (if so, welcome aboard), it's apparent that Red Bull is dominating the grid. No other team has won a race this season, and Max Verstappen has won seven consecutive races on his own. The race for second is more intriguing. Aston Martin held that title comfortably at the beginning of the calendar, though they have been chased down by Mercedes for roughly the last two months. McLaren has more recently joined the fray, and their performance at Hungaroring last weekend was particularly important. For the last several seasons, McLaren has shown pace at faster tracks. That was again the pattern this year, as Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri showed well at both Red Bull Ring and Silverstone. Hungaroring is a significantly slower track, but McLaren maintained their relative pace, giving some reassurance they've found pace at circuits of all layouts.
The only other true contender for a race win is Ferrari, though they've continued to show many of the same issues of disorganization and poor decision making that plagued them in the past. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. should never be written off, but at this point they seem to be driving with one hand tied behind their back.
Key Stats at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Won From Pole: 21
Winners from top-five starters: 48
Winners from top-10 starters: 52
Lap Record: Valtteri Bottas 1:46.286 (2018)
Previous 10 Spa-Francorchamps Winners
2022: Max Verstappen
2021: Max Verstappen
2020: Lewis Hamilton
2019: Charles Leclerc
2018: Sebastian Vettel
2017: Lewis Hamilton
2016: Nico Rosberg
2015: Lewis Hamilton
2014: Daniel Ricciardo
2013: Sebastian Vettel
Spa has some of the most iconic turns and portions of track among the circuits on the calendar. Eau Rogue and Raidillon are the iconic duo that sees cars take a quick turn left to a flat-out uphill climb that sweeps right. Unfortunately, the track is also known for safety concerns, with the most recent incidents being the death of two young drivers, Anthoine Hubert of F2 in 2019 and Kemmel Strait of the European Regional Championship just earlier this month. There have been slight modifications to the track in recent years, but no major overhauls.
As is typically the case at Spa, the weather also looks likely to play a part in the outcome of the race. There's at least a 20 percent chance of rain each day of the weekend. Assuming the rain holds off, drivers will have the choice C2, C3 and C4 tires. Teams that struggle to get their tires up to temperature such as Mercedes are likely to opt for softer tires, while McLaren can switch on their tires more quickly and could opt for the harder end of the compounds as a result.
Team's desired setup will also play a key role in its tire choice. Spa features the longest lap of the season of any circuit, with big variations in elevation and speed throughout. Some teams will look to optimize downforce during the heavy-braking sector 2, while others will keep the car looser in an effort to gain ground on the straight sections of the track.
DraftKings Value Picks for the Belgian Grand Prix
Tier 1 Values
Max Verstappen - $15,200
Tier 2 Values
Tier 3 Values
Tier 4 Values
Tier 5 Values
Red Bull Racing - $13,900
McLaren - $9,300
Mercedes - $9,100
Aston Martin - $6,700
Alpine - $4,300
Formula 1 DFS Picks for the Belgian Grand Prix
Max Verstappen comes at an extreme price, but to this point, we've seen no reason not pay it. Even with a grid penalty to start, it's difficult to really believe he won't win this race. He did so last year in the same scenario. With a few concessions, it's still possible to build a solid lineup with his extreme cost. One such concession is the constructor. This is a reasonable bet to make because no team – including Red Bull – has consistently put a pair of drivers on the podium this season. Alpine has undoubtedly underperformed this season, though they've had a few weekends ruined by bad luck. If that doesn't happen again, they should be in contention for a double-points finish. Thus, the pairing of Gasly and Alpine.
Albon is another "concession." However, he's gotten the most out of his Williams nearly every weekend and remains underpriced. Bottas is more of a risk despite the higher price. He qualified with exceptional pace in Hungary but slipped behind the pack quickly getting stuck behind teammate Zhou Guanyu, who had a disastrous start. At the very least, he's a decent bet to beat Guanyu. He's done so seven of 11 times this season.
For those that want to bet against Verstappen, Perez ($15,600) is a strong captain at a significant discount. Fading Verstappen altogether makes sense in this scenario, because his massive price tag is only worth it if he wins the race. Following that path would free up $7,700 in salary. I'd be most eager to upgrade constructor and from Bottas, with McLaren and Carlos Sainz Jr. both being potential fits based on performance and price.
Formula 1 Betting Picks for the Belgian Grand Prix
Outright Winner- Sergio Perez (+500)
Winner w/o Verstappen – Perez (-250)
As was mentioned, Verstappen was handed a grid penalty at the end of qualifying, so he's set to start sixth rather than on pole. In theory, that should give Perez a better than 16.66 percent chance of winning the race given that both are driving Red Bull cars. Betting on Perez without Verstappen is obviously a safer choice, but at the cost of giving up a significant amount of juice. The logic is still there, as Ferrari can't be trusted even with Leclerc on pole. Mercedes is an interesting choice, and a team I plan to avoid this weekend. They have a hard time getting their tires up to temperature, and we saw an example of that when Lando Norris was able to hold off Lewis Hamilton over the final stint of the British Grand Prix while on hard tires as compared to Hamilton's softs. During a weekend with unpredictable weather, I want the team that can get immediate performance out of their tires.
*Due to the timing of the race weekend, there are limited odds available for both Saturday and Sunday's races. Check back in the comments for additional picks as lines become available.