Max Verstappen slightly favored over Lewis Hamilton in PointsBet odds for F1 Belgium GP

PointsBet F1 Belgium GP
Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Max Verstappen is a slight favorite over Lewis Hamilton at PointsBet Sportsbook to win the F1 Belgium GP on August 29 at Spa Francorchamps. Hamilton is the defending winner of this race after beating teammate Valtteri Bottas to the line last year by more than eight seconds.

Verstappen has won five times this year and finished second on three other occasions through Round 11. Hamilton has four victories in 2021 and currently leads Verstappen in the points’ standings. On Thursday, Verstappen showed a line of +115 to Hamilton’s +120.

One way to view American Odds is to move the decimal point two positions to the left. That will let a bettor know what they will make on a $1 bet, so the return on investment this week for Verstappen is $1.15. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Both drivers have eight podium finishes this season with the difference in the points largely coming down to two bad finishes for Verstappen compared to one for Hamilton. Verstappen was leading the Azerbaijan GP late in the race when a tire blew and sent him into the wall. In the British GP, he had contact with Hamilton on the opening lap. Verstappen failed to finish either race and did not earn points.

Hamilton finished outside the the points once this year. He missed his braking mark at Azerbaijan and drove off course before finishing 15th.

The two points leaders also have close lines in regard to winning the pole position for this weekend’s Belgium GP. Verstappen is listed at +110; Hamilton is +115.

Sergio Perez is ranked third with odds of +1200. Perez won the highly volatile Azerbaijan GP in the middle of a seven-race streak of results sixth or better that spanned Portugal through Austria. His last two finishes have been well outside the top 10 with a 16th in the British GP and a DNF at Hungary.

Ranked fourth for this week’s Belgium GP is Bottas with odds of +2200. Bottas carried a streak of four top-fives with him to Hungary before he was involved in the same opening lap crash that eliminated Perez. Bottas is the third-ranked driver with a line of +560 to win this week’s pole. He has one previous pole in 2021, which came at Portugal in Round 3.

Rounding out the top five is Lando Norris at +3300. Norris is third in the drivers’ championship chase, a distant 82 points behind Hamilton, but only five points ahead of Bottas. Norris had a perfect record of top-10 finishes heading into Hungary with all but one of those results in the top five. He was also eliminated with crash damage early in that race.

Charles Leclerc won the 2019 edition of the Belgium GP. If he can win again this week, that is worth +5000.

The 2018 winner, Sebastian Vettel faces extremely long odds of +25000 after being disqualified from a second-place finish in Hungary. That would have been Vettel’s second podium of the season. He finished second in Azerbaijan.

The most recent F1 winner of the Hungarian GP, Esteban Ocon also faces +25000 odds. His victory was the first time this year that he has cracked the top five.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

For more betting coverage, check out NBC Sports Edge.

PointsBet F1 Belgium GP
Race winner Lewis Hamilton and third-place Max Verstappen are sprayed with champagne by second-place Valtteri Bottas following last year’s Belgium GP.(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”