After almost a month off, the stars of Formula One are back in action this weekend in Belgium. Here’s this weeks’ race preview.
While the teams and drivers had four weeks off, action picks up in a big way starting this weekend in Belgium. We have nine races left but all will take place in a span of 13 weeks.
We’ve seen for a majority of the year that the drivers will race one week, have the next week off then return to action a week after that, but now there will be plenty of back-to-back races on the schedule.
With the final push to the end now, it’s time to figure out who’s going to be the world champion when it’s all said and done. Right now, all signs point to Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver leads his teammate of Valtteri Bottas by 62 points heading into this weekend’s race.
But, third place Max Verstappen is closing hard. He’s only 69 points arrears with nine races remaining.
The Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel (-94) and Charles LeClerc (-118) aren’t likely going to win the title unless they start winning races.
Ferrari Looking For 2nd Straight Belgium Win
Speaking of Ferrari not winning races, they think that they have something for this weekend. In all three practices and even in qualifying, they went 1-2 in each.
Sebastian Vettel won this race last year and was second in 2017. He has five top two finishes in his last eight Spa starts. He also enters having scored two straight podiums in his No. 5 Ferrari on the season too.
Charles LeClerc has five top four finishes in his last five starts on the season too and driving a car that Kimi Raikkonen finished third in last year.
But, Vettel’s win last year was Ferrari’s first in Spa since 2010. They have the speed, can they capitalize in the race.
Will Mercedes Duo Win?
Lewis Hamilton won the last race of the season before the break in Hungary. He’s now won two of the last three races on the year and eight overall. Hamilton, has also won this race twice since 2015 and was third and second respectively in the other two races.
All signs point to another strong weekend out of him. But, he was involved in a crash in FP3 and was just sixth, fourth and seventh respectively in practice this weekend.
Bottas though, well he may struggle too. He was fourth in this race last year and fifth in 2017. He’s finished on the podium just once (2014) in six Belgium tries. Bottas, fresh off a contract extension, was fifth, third and third respectively in practice this weekend. He rolls off fourth.
Red Bull Switch Up
If Ferrari nor Mercedes wins on Sunday, then one of the Red Bull drivers will. The “Big 3” teams have literally won every race since 2014. They’ve won every race in Spa since 1999 too.
Max Verstappen finished third in this race last year and has two straight top two finishes on the season and three in the last four. He starts fifth.
He also has a new teammate this weekend with Pierre Gasly being replaced by Alex Albon. Will it be a noticeable difference?
5 Vettel – I think he finds his way past his teammate and win on Sunday. Vettel, won this race last year and has two straight top two finishes in Spa. He hasn’t been worse than second in any speed chart this weekend.
44 Hamilton – I do think he charges up to a runner-up for his second straight in Belgium and third consecutive top two there as well. He has four straight podiums on the race track and gets a fifth on Sunday.
16 Leclerc – He uses his starting position to gain a podium. He hasn’t been worse than second on any speed chart this weekend either.
77 Bottas – He earns his second straight fourth place finish in Spa and third straight top five.
11 Perez – He’s been fantastic this weekend. Perez, was ninth, fifth and sixth respectively in practice and starts ninth. He finished fifth in this race in three of the last four years too.