The Formula One season heads to Germany and the Hockenheimring this weekend off the back of yet another Mercedes one-two at Silverstone a fortnight ago. Lewis Hamilton extended his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to 39 points with his sixth British Grand Prix victory while Sebastian Vettel’s frustrating campaign continued after a clash with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Mercedes have dominated in Germany in recent years, winning the last three Grand Prix. Hamilton was victorious in 2016 and 2018, while his former teammate Nico Rosberg won his home Grand Prix in 2014. Once again, the Silver Arrows are the overwhelming favourites to stand atop the podium at -650 to be the winning team with BetStars.
Hamilton has tipped Vettel to bounce back, comparing him to the greats in tennis. Vettel, though, is without a race win in almost a year, and is on a long run of costly mistakes. He’s as good as out of Championship contention and could be overtaken by teammate Charles Leclerc in the standings this weekend.
Vettel has only won the German Grand Prix once, which was back in 2013 in his dominant Red Bull. His record has been underwhelming at his home race throughout his Formula One career, and he’s way out at +1000 to win this weekend with BetStars. For those who fancy the four-time champion to return to form, that will undoubtedly be a tempting price, as the Ferrari is still showing good pace.
The last two races, despite Hamilton’s Silverstone victory, haven’t really been focussed on the two veterans. It’s all been about the new generation, the two drivers who will at the front of the sport for years to come – Leclerc and Verstappen.
The pair duelled in Austria. It was much the same at Silverstone. Both are given shorter race odds than Vettel this weekend. The long straights of the Hockenheimring put Verstappen’s Red Bull at a slight disadvantage, but it should be quicker than the Ferrari through the tighter sections of the lap, particularly from turns 12 to 16.
It’s easy to forget that Leclerc is still only 21 years old. He is Ferrari’s best hope for a race victory at the moment, and has matured throughout this season. After some errors in the opening races, the 2017 Formula 2 champion has strung together four podiums in a row. At +900, Leclerc is better value than his more experienced teammate and probably a better option than Verstappen, who is +800.
Pirelli opted for the C2, C3 and C4 compounds for this weekend with Renault once again the most aggressive with their tyre selection. Along with Toro Rosso, Renault have gone for a grid-leading 10 sets of the soft tyres. Daniel Ricciardo secured a solid seventh-placed finish at Silverstone and will be eyeing up more points in Germany this weekend. If you fancy Ricciardo to break into the top six for the first time this season, he’s priced at +275 with BetStars.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon have only combined for 19 points so far this season, but both have the pace to become regular point scorers. With the same price of +175 to finish in the top 10 on Sunday, Kvyat is the better value, however, coming off a ninth-placed finish at Silverstone. With Pierre Gasly having a difficult first year in the Red Bull, another strong weekend for Kvyat will see rumours of a promotion increase further.
While Mercedes are the probable victors once again, this Formula One season has been about much more than Hamilton’s supremacy. The midfield will be fascinating deep into the year, and the fledgling rivalry between Leclerc and Verstappen looks set to provide entertainment regardless of their race positions. Hamilton and Mercedes will leave fans either frustrated or amazed, and it would be a shock if they don’t win in Germany, but this should still be an entertaining race.
By Sam Cox