Finally the summer break is over! The fun and games return as Formula One heads to one of its classic venues Spa for Round 12 in a season that has provided us with so many thrills and spills.
Finally the summer break is over! The fun and games return as Formula One heads to one of its classic venues Spa for Round 12 in a season that has provided us with so many thrills and spills. The good news is that there are still seven more rounds after this weekend.
After closing the gap to Rosberg in the championship, Lewis Hamilton has a great chance of closing it further on Sunday afternoon at a track in which he famously had the win taken away from him in his championship winning year.
The 2008 champion will be hoping that he can make it win number two at the 7 KM long circuit that has been the host of many fantastic Formula 1 memories over the years.
Changes at Red Bull
Whilst Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo took the spoils last time out in Hungary, the team have been quick to play down their chances this weekend. With Spa being more of a ‘power circuit’ you would expect the Mercedes runners to be the class of the field.
Whilst the Red Bull will struggle in the first and third sector, sector two will play to their strengths due to high speed nature of corners such as Pouhon and Stavelot. The four time constructors’ world champions admitted last week that they will have to wait till at least Singapore to have any chance of taking a victory, something Sebastian Vettel is still without this season. What a difference a year makes!
With the unpredictability of the weather around this classic circuit Mercedes may not have this all their own way. Rain is never far away in the heart of the Arden rain forest and when it rains it pours. This could throw up a surprise winner such as the likes of Williams who should be in for a strong showing as they look to close the gap to Ferrari and Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.
A championship for Hamilton?
This weekend F1 welcomes some new recruits at the back of the grid as both Caterham and Marussia have opted to make changes to their driver line up. German three-time Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer has been given the nod ahead of Kamui Kobayashi after signing a one race deal. Lotterer has previous experience in an F1 car however this was back in 2002 whilst testing for Jaguar.
Not to be out done Marussia have also made a change and gone for a former Caterham. Marussia announced on Thursday night that Max Chilton will be making way for Alexander Rossi. The American will be in the car “while contractual issues are resolved”. Rossi left Caterham last month following the recent takeover of the Caterham team which also saw him leave the GP2 team.
Pirelli have announced that they will bring the soft (option) and medium (prime) compounds to Spa, last year Pirelli took a more conservative stance and opted for the medium and hard compounds.
Whilst the race looks to be dry and cool, the radar suggests we are in for a wet Saturday afternoon for qualifying. This will not phase Hamilton as he was on pole position last year in treacherous conditions, unfortunately for the Brit he was unable to convert the pole to a win as Sebastian Vettel began his nine race unbeaten run.
If Hamilton is to mount a championship challenge he must act this weekend and take all 25 points on Sunday, another qualifying hiccup could put a massive dent in his championship dreams. As for Nico Rosberg it is simple, if Hamilton does go on to take Belgium win number two all he has to do is finish in second to Hamilton. Something he has done on four occasions this year.
With the pace advantage of the silver arrows have over the rest of the field you would be silly to bet against them or will the rain have a role to play in deciding the outcome?
Have your say in the comments below.
*Update: During this mornings practice session Marussia announced that Max Chilton will be back in the car in practice two and will be for the duration of the weekend.