Formula 1 Season Returns To Action At Spa in Belgium This Weekend
The Formula 1 season is back after its month-long break throughout August. After an action packed race in Hungary last time out, which saw Lewis Hamilton’s patience and strategy rewarded to pip Max Verstappen to the top spot on the podium, many fans are now eagerly awaiting the remainder of the season to see if Verstappen can continue to be the main threat to Hamilton’s dominance of the season so far.
It probably hasn’t been the most enjoyable break for Ferrari who, no doubt, will have been working hard to try and bridge the gap that has emerged between their car and the Mercedes, which while not quite as fast in a straight line, has far better grip and cornering and has seen them leaving the Tifosi team trailing in their wake in recent races. Vettel and Leclerc will be hoping they can at least enjoy a better second half of the season compared to the first and many fans of the prancing horse team will be betting on that.
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Let’s now take a look at how things stand after the first 12 races of the season, which were completed at Hungary before the month-long hiatus.
Current Standings (after 12 races)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 250 (8 race wins)
- Valeri Bottas (Mercedes) – 188 (2 race wins)
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 181 (2 race wins)
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – 156
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 132
- Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) – 63
- Carlos Sainz Jr (McLaren) – 58
- Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) – 31
- Danil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) – 27
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 24
- Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 22
- Lance Stroll (Racing Point) – 18
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 18
- Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) – 17
- Alexander Albon (Red Bull) – 16
- Sergio Perez (Racing Point) – 13
- Roman Grosjean (Haas) – 8
- Alberto Giovanazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Robert Kubica (Williams) – 1
- George Russell (Williams) – 0
Mercedes dominance of the opening half of the season is clear with their two drivers winning ten races between them of the 12 contested. Ferrari are yet to win a single race and their season so far has been nothing short of dismal.
One other thing to note is that Red Bull have demoted driver Pierre Gasly from their team to their second team Toro Rosso and Alexander Albon has been promoted from Toro Rosso to race for Red Bull over the second half of the season.
Albon’s Driver’s Championship points remain unaffected, as do Gasly’s and the points they earned for their team over the opening 12 races will remain with the constructor. However, from Belgium onwards, each driver will earn points for their new team, as well as themselves in the Driver’s Championship.
- Mercedes – 438
- Ferrari – 288
- Red Bull – 244
- McLaren – 82
- Toro Rosso – 43
- Renault – 39
- Alfa Romeo – 32
- Racing Point – 31
- Haas – 26
- Williams – 1
Belgium Grand Prix
The Belgium Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps is not only the longest circuit of the Formula 1 season (at just over 7 kilometers long), but it also one of the most spectacular and popular races of the entire season for both fans and drivers.
The legendary Michael Schumacher, who holds the record with six wins in this Grand Prix, spoke of Spa being his favourite track to race on and it is a sentiment which is echoed by many drivers. Fans also love the excitement and spectacular nature of the track which, allied to weather conditions which can be hugely changeable, often makes for an exciting and often explosive race.
Only four of the current crop of drivers have ever won a race at Spa. Kimi Raikkonen is the most decorated driver of that group with four wins, while Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have three wins apiece while Daniel Ricciardo has one win from his time with Red Bull.
The track is famous for its many corners and straights and some of the most spectacular viewing for fans of the F1 season and it promises to be a hugely exciting weekend ahead as the F1 season returns for the second part of the year.
Winning back to back Belgium Grand Prix wins has proven tricky over the last few years, the last driver to do it was Kimi Raikkonen who won in 2004 and 2005. As such, the omen’s don’t bode well for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari this weekend.
Our Belgium Grand Prix Prediction
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
You can back Lewis Hamilton to win the Belgium Grand Prix at 11/8 with bet365 Sport at the time of writing and that to me looks like a very sensible bet. For all the work that Ferrari have put in on their car over the last few weeks, you can bet that Mercedes will have been doing likewise to ensure the gap remains between them and the rest of the teams and given the form they have shown in recent times, I expect them to be the team to beat once again this weekend.
That said, I think Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is once again going to go well. He’ll enjoy good support in Belgium being from neighbouring Holland and after shining in the last two races, including landing a win in one, he is the man most likely to challenge Hamilton in this race too and I do think it will be a close run battle between the two for the top spot on the podium.
As for third, I think Ferrari will make some progress in this race but I can’t see much more than a third place for Sebastian Vettel here, but I would expect the Tifosi team to make significant strides towards matching the performance of the top two teams in the coming races.