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Massive crash but Button needed no help to win

Race Results
1st
Button
2nd
Vettel
3rd
Raikkonen
4th
Hulkenberg
5th
Massa
6th
Webber
7th
Schumacher
8th
Vergne
9th
Ricciardo
10th
di Resta
11th
Rosberg
12th
Senna
13th
Kobayashi
14th
Petrov
15th
Glock
16th
Pic
17th
Kovalainen
18th
de la Rosa

After such a weak season Button notches up another victory. Although he faced far fewer competitors than normal his pace was incredible and no one could touch him. With quickest times in free practice and in the qualifying sessions, his weekend was more dominant than Hamilton's in Hungary. However, it's difficult to know if Button has genuinely stepped up his game or if he just got the set-up on his McLaren perfect. Regardless, he certainly looks likely to be more of a factor than than he has been mostly this season.

The big upset was Grosjean's crash taking out Hamilton, Alonso, Kobayashi and Perez. Whilst none of these could have challenged Button it would have been extremely interesting to see if they could have matched Raikkonen for pace. Especially disappointing is Sauber not getting a chance to show their potential. Although Kobayashi was slow during the race he probably suffered damage during the crash and they are worth watching for the future as more podiums are likely this season. Vettel and Hulkenberg also had very impressive races, Vettel using his one stop strategy to move ahead of even Raikkonen from 11th and Hulkenberg took his Force India to 4th.

After Alonso's first retirement this year his competitors had a chance to keep up. Button's win moves him closer to putting himself into the hunt for the championship but he is still far away. With Hamilton also retiring and Webber not having a great race Alonso has got off lightly in the championship race. Raikkonen is now a single point behind Webber and 14 in front of Hamilton. Alonso's main concern is Vettel, now 8 points ahead of his team mate and 24 behind Alonso. The margin is still big but Alonso now has an even harder fight on his hands.

Monza race weekend 7th to 9th of September. Click to see live odds for next race.

Image © Evoflash

A very unusual qualifying session.
Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Button
2nd
Kobyashi
3rd
Maldonado*
4th
Raikkonen
5th
Perez
6th
Alonso
6th
Webber*
8th
Hamilton
9th
Grosjean
10th
di Resta
11th
Vettel
12th
Hulkenberg
13th
Schumacher
14th
Massa
15th
Vergne
16th
Ricciardo
17th
Senna
18th
Rosberg
*Maldonado – 3 place penalty.
*Webber – 5 place penalty.

Button takes his first poll position in two years during one of t strangest qualifying results in the last few seasons. Both Saubers achieved their best qualifying position with Kobayashi 2nd and Perez 5th. Raikkonen also had best qualifying of the year by coming in 4th. Maldonado's excellent 3rd was demoted to 6th after blocking a car in the pitlane (see Planet F1), promoting Raikkonen, Perez and Alonso.

There is no obvious reason why so many drivers who are relatively weak at qualifying have taken substantially higher grid positions than the Red Bulls or Hamilton. Since it is unclear why this happened it is also unclear if those who qualified well will be able to retain pace during the race. Caution is heavily advised for betting on Spa this year.

Jenson Button is the favourite to win with odds of 7/5 (2.40) from Paddy Power. The McLaren generally does not suit Spa that well and there is speculation that Button was so much quicker than Hamilton because his car was set up for qualifying so these odds are not brilliant. Raikkonen is second favourite with 7/2 (4.50) from Bet 365. Raikkonen almost always does better in the race than qualifying, the Lotus having arguably the best race pace of any car in the field. Having won here four times, Raikkonen has an excellent chance of taking a fifth victory at Spa from 3rd on the grid. 7/2 (4.50) is good odds though also placing a equally sized bet on Button would ensure a profit whichever wins would be wise.

The big uncertainty are Sauber. They usually do well in high speed tracks in colder weather which puts them at home in Belgium. In the correct conditions the Sauber often show massive race pace and can often finish far ahead of where they qualify, Perez taking podiums from 10th and 15th on the grid. If Spa is one of the courses that maximises their potential pace – and qualifying suggests that it is – then a win cannot be discounted. 113/10 (14.3) from Betfair for Kobayashi and 83/5 (17.60) from Betfair for Perez are both worth at least a small bet. If victory sounds ambitious then podiums at 57/25 (3.28) from Betfair for Kobayashi and 7/2 (4.50) from SkyBet for Perez seem good value given that the Saubers usually finishing higher than they qualify. The Saubers may split their strategy, with Kobayashi covering the leaders whilst Perez tries his own strategy which he has so masterfully pulled of in the past so hopefully at least one Sauber will find the best strategy and take the podium. Top 6 are also good odds at 67/100 (1.67) from Blue Square for Kobayashi and 1/1 (2.00) from Blue Square for Perez.

The best strategy would be betting on all the top four for victory, trying to break even on a Button victory and profit for the other four. As a rough approximate example, betting £30 with £12 on Button, £14 on Raikkonen, £3 on Kobayashi and £2 on Perez would yield £1 profit if Button wins, £14 if Raikkonen wins, £12 if Kobayashi wins and £10 if Perez wins. The major challenge to this plan is Alonso in 5th. Maldonado should hold up many of the pack who lacked pace in qualifying and additionally di Resta might hold up Vettel in 11th and a demoted Webber in 12th (see ESPN.). Alonso's relentless nature is renowned but his win's at Malyasia and Valencia were dependent upon a car higher up the field having a slow pit stop or retiring . Since Alonso free admits his car is weaker than the Lotus and the McLaren it is difficult to imagine him taking victory without luck coming his way (see ESPN). Overall though, with so many uncertainties after such a bizarre qualifying it is very difficult to guess what race pace each car will approximately have so live betting or simply avoiding betting on Spa this year might ultimately prove wisest.

Odds above accurate at Saturday 2nd, 01.02 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © samarvid

Hamilton completely dominated qualifying at the Hungaroring.

Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Hamilton
2nd
Grosjean
3rd
Vettel
4th
Button
5th
Raikkonen
6th
Alonso
6th
Massa
8th
Maldonado
9th
Senna
10th
Hulkenberg
11th
Webber
12th
di Resta
13th
Rosberg
14th
Perez
15th
Kobayashi
16th
Vergne
17th
Schumacher
18th
Ricciardo
Hamilton looks by far strongest for victory and the odds reflect this at 91/100 (1.91) from 888sport. He was quickest in each session of qualifying and twice in free practice. Only two things might unsettle Hamilton. Hungary is a difficult course to pass on and Grosjean is often quick on the start. Also, light rain is predicted, with Hamilton good but not strongest in the rain.

With the race victories at Hungary coming from anywhere in the top four, Button is a strong contender if the rain is heavy. 11/1 (12.00) from Bet 365 are good odds. Button looks good for an outside bet.

Vettel has unusually high odds at 9/2 (5.50) from 888sport. However, he looks to lack the pace of Hamilton, the track is difficult to pass on and Vettel is not especially strong in the rain. However, any driver with those odds are reasonable value for money from 3rd place and especially so for Vettel.

The big unknown is Grosjean. Generally, he finishes higher than he qualifies yet his best finishing position is only 3rd. However, he seems slow in the rain in his few wet races so far and the Lotus usually only becomes competitive in the second half of the race. Grosjean is currently 15/2 (8.50) from Bet 365 but is one for live betting.

Image © nic_r

Odds above accurate at Saturday 28th, 14.40 GMT. Click to see live odds.

McLaren likely to continue their usual dominance at Hungary.

Free Practice Results
        FP1
FP2
1st
Hamilton
Hamilton
2nd
Button
Raikkonen
3rd
Alonso
Senna
4th
Rosberg
Massa
5th
Grosjean
Alonso
6th
Schumacher
Button
6th
Raikkonen
di Resta
8th
Bottas
Vettel
9th
Perez
Grosjean
10th
Hulkenberg
Schumacher
11th
Maldonado
Rosberg
12th
Kobayashi
Maldonado
13th
Webber
Hulkenberg
14th
di Resta
Webber
15th
Vettel
Kobayashi
16th
Ricciardo
Vergne
17th
Vergne
Ricciardo
18th
Bianchi
Perez
19th
Petrov
Petrov
20th
Pic
Kovalainen
21nd
Kovalainen
Glock
22nd
Glock
de la Rossa
23rd
de la Rossa
Pic
24th
Clos
Karthikeyan
Hamilton was quickest in both Friday practice sessions and Button was second quickest in FP1. Hamilton has the lowest odds for both qualifying (2/1 (3.00) from 888sport) and the race (3/1 (4.00) from 888sport). Hamilton certainly does look strongest but Button is better value for money for the race victory at 9/1 (8.00) from Bet365. Rain has been predicted for the race and Button is renowned for his skill handling changing weather conditions, including winning here in 2006 starting 14th on the grid. Live betting is advised: the McLaren has struggled in both the last two wet qualifying sessions and it is currently unknown if they face similar difficulties in a wet race.

The biggest surprise from qualifying was the lack of pace from the Red Bulls, both struggling to set top ten times. The rain cancelled any plans for low fuel running from Red Bull so their exact pace is unknown. However, their times were unusually low and both drivers admitted they were off the pace. Despite this Vettel is still second favorite for qualifying (11/4 (3.75) from William Hill) and the race (10/3 (4.33) from Ladbrokes). He does not currently look like value for money although FP3 Saturday morning might give a true indication of potential. Webber has 14/1 (15.00) from Ladbrokes for race victory. Having won more races than everyone but Alonso this year, these seem incredibly good odds for a high profit bet.

The qualifying should be dry which probably rules out a pole position for Alonso. With rain predicted for the race he should prove strong and 9/2 (5.50) from 888sport are good odds. The major issue will be how well the McLaren handles the wet weather. If the McLaren proves weak and given Red Bull's problems, Alonso could be good for victory. If the McLaren can keep pace in the rain then they will probably win. Live betting is recommended.

Image © nic_r

Odds above accurate at Friday 27th, 17.40 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Heavy rain at Hockenheim practice sessions.

Free Practice Results
        FP1
FP2
1st
Button
Maldonado
2nd
Hamilton
Rosberg
3rd
Alonso
Vettel
4th
Schumacher
Perez
5th
Perez
Grosjean
6th
Hulkenberg
Hulkenberg
6th
Rosberg
Ricciardo
8th
Massa
Button
9th
Maldonado
Webber
10th
Grosjean
Raikkonen
11th
Kobayashi
Vergne
12th
Vettel
Massa
13th
Bottas
Kobayashi
14th
Ricciardo
Pic
15th
Raikkonen
Glock
16th
Bianchi
Senna
17th
Vergne
Kovalainen
18th
Petrov
di Resta
19th
Kovalainen
Hamilton
20th
Webber
Alonso
21nd
Pic
Petrov
22nd
Glock
Karthikeyan
23rd
de la Rosa
Schumacher
24th
Clos
de la Rossa

With rain interrupting both practise sessions they only provided limited information about driver potential this weekend. The drenched FP2 can largely be written off, the fastest time was 11 seconds slower than FP1 but the sections of clear running in FP1 has some interesting hints. Button topping the first session with Hamilton close behind is the major surprise. After their recent poor performance, the upgrade package brought to Hockenheim seems to have paid off. Hamilton still looks good for pole with Vettel off the pace during dry running. Button still has high odds after his poor performance but if the upgrades have restored his competitive edge substantial money could be made on a victory at 13/1 (14.00) from StanJames or a podium at 5/1 (6/00) from Ladbrokes. Alonso came 3rd, keeping up the pace of recent races. Pole is unlikely for the Spaniard but he will look to continue his challenges for victory. Red Bull came 12th and 20th but they are just hiding their pace and only FP3 will give information about their potential.

Schumacher timed 4th and Rosberg 7th suggesting they will challenge for a podium and certainly a top six position. Both have 3/2 (2.50) from Bet 365. Perez came 5th, looking very good for a high pay off bet on a podium since likely high tire degradation will work to his advantage, with odds of 32/1 (33.00) from Ladbrokes. Lotus have brought an experimental DRS system but never had much opportunity to test it in FP1. It is unknown if they will use it this race but if they do focus on Lotus for live betting: they usually do better in the race than qualifying and with an experimental system to boot they may pull some surprises if it works.

Odds above accurate at Friday 20th, 18.41 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © nic_r

Button
                        2012    
Since 2010
Won
3
8
Pole
1
1
Podium
7
26
Top 6
12
42
Top 10
16
49
Last update: Brazil

Season analysis after Korea

Button has been very competitive in the second half of the season although has had some unlucky retirements. His race win in Belgium is extremely unlikely to be repeated in dry weather as it was largely due to finding a good setup after such little running in free practise. Button usually only wins in unusual circumstances. With most his wins since 2010 coming in the wet, rely upon rain before betting on victory. Button mastery at handling the tires is renowned, making him one to watch for live betting as tire strategy plays out. He’s managed two podiums in the last five races whilst coming 4th in Japan and was 2nd in Italy before a retirement for mechanical error. Button is worth a bet on the podium currently. Money could be made on top 6 given finishes given the competitive the McLaren but given their mechanical difficulties low odds low payout top 10 betting is best avoided.

Click to see live odds for next race.

 

 

Season analysis after Hungary

Like his team mate, 2012 has been an inconsistent season for Button. After Button's win Australia to start the season Button had a string of terrible of results. The McLaren started to perform well again after the upgrades brought to Germany, with Button taking a podium and top six position. After his substantial lull for the six races between Bahrain and Silverstone, expect Button to once again challenge for victory.

Button usually only wins in unusual circumstances. With most his wins since 2010 coming in the wet, rely upon rain before betting on victory. Button mastery at handling the tires is renowned, making him one to watch for live betting as tire strategy plays out. Last season, Button made the podium in 12 of 19 races, making a podium a safer bet than victory for a dry race. He has not been on Pole in 3 years so focus on race victories and podiums.

Button is so far behind in the championship that even with his current boost in performance he stands no chance of being crowned champion this year.

This update is out of date, see update from Korea above for current update.

Image © Rego - d4u.hu