The first race after the mid-season break will see the Formula 1 field take to the Spa-Francorchamps track on Sunday the 26th of August.
The F1 season enters it’s second-half out in Belgium this coming weekend and we look set for a thrilling backstretch of the season with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel still neck and neck in the race for the Drivers’ Championship.
How Things Stand
Drivers’ Championship Top 6
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 213
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 189
Kimi Raikonnen (Ferrari) 146
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 132
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 118
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 105
Constructors’ Championship Top 3
Red Bull 223
Belgium Grand Prix
Sunday 26th August
To Win Race (Belgian Grand Prix) Outright
Lewis Hamilton 27/20
Sebastian Vettel 27/20
Kimi Raikkonen 7/1
Valterri Bottas 8/1
Max Verstappen 16/1 |
Daniel Ricciardo 18/1
While most tracks that have endured safety changes have become tame lap dogs, Spa is still a snarling beast that’s capable of taking even the most experienced drivers’ head off. The reason this track is so perilous are the sweeping high-speed corners that see drivers open up the taps on.
One can’t speak of the 19 hair-raising corners without mentioning Blanchimont. This challenging and extremely dangerous turn leads onto the start/finish straight, and while it is a great zone to have a dive at an overtake, it has caught many a driver out in the past.
Another area of the circuit that will really test drivers’ ability is the left-right-left sequence of turns which starts at the bottom of the Eau Rouge corner and runs through Radillon. This segment contains a steep climb that leads into a marvellous uphill right-hander.
Sunday’s race distance will span some 308 kilometres with each lap equating to just over seven kilometres. Drivers will duke it out over 44 of these lengthy laps and we’re likely to see a whole host of different tyre tactics employed.
Due to the wide nature of the track, qualifying on pole doesn’t really mean much here. This is evident when you look at the following stat, only seven of the last 14 race winners were won by drivers who qualified on pole.
Spa is notorious for late afternoon rain showers and it looks like that will be the case this weekend with afternoon thundershowers being predicted on all three days of the race weekend.
First Driver to Retire
Max Verstappen 20/1
It’s a massive speculator but at 20/1 one it’s certainly worth a punt. The Dutch young gun hasn’t really taken to Spa and was the second retiree in last year’s race, while he finished 11th in 2016 due to an early collision with the two Ferraris.
A small punt on Verstappen to be the first driver to retire may just net a healthy dividend this coming weekend.
Fastest Qualifier & Race Winner
Lewis Hamilton 12/10 & 27/20
The last three races at Spa have been won by a Mercedes driver with Lewis Hamilton claiming the 2015 and 2017 editions of the race. I think that trend is set to continue here with Mercedes having done some excellent mid-season work on the set-up of their car.