Preview: Belgian Grand Prix – track guide, prediction, race preview

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Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, including predictions, a track guide and qualifying results.

Formula 1 will return from its summer break this weekend for the Belgian Grand Prixwith Max Verstappen leading the championship by 80 points.

Charles Leclerc will lead the charge against the Dutchman in the final nine races, which will be held over 12 weeks.


Race preview

© Reuters

The last time Formula 1 raced was in Hungary at the end of July, where Max Verstappen raced through the field from 10th on the grid to claim his eighth win of the season.

As Verstappen took the top step of the podium, Mercedes celebrated a double podium after Lewis Hamilton and george russell finished second and third respectively.

Hamilton has the chance to finish in the top three for the fifth race in a row, while Russell can claim a third consecutive podium this weekend.

Meanwhile, Verstappen’s championship rival Charles Leclerc needs a string of positive results to close the gap on the Dutchman after finishing on the podium on just one occasion in the last eight races.

Leclerc’s teammate carlos sainz will also be looking to enjoy a successful weekend, with the Spaniard currently sitting fifth in the Championship standings.

Daniel Ricciardo photographed on June 30, 2022© Reuters

While Ferrari hopes they will return from the summer break with their reliability issues behind them, Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricardo head to Belgium knowing they won’t be racing for their current teams next year.

Alonso decided to leave Alpine to replace Sebastien Vettelwho previously announced he would retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season.

As for Ricciardo, he will leave McLaren at the end of the year after the team confirmed the termination of the Australian’s contract for 2023.

Meanwhile, Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris will look to continue their run of promising results this weekend after finishing in the top seven in the last four races.


track guide

Lewis Hamilton pictured June 19, 2022© Reuters

The Belgian Grand Prix will take place on the 7.004 km circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, which has undergone changes since last year.

A number of gravel traps have been added to the circuit, some areas of the track have been resurfaced, while new anti-debris barriers and fencing have also been installed.

The track still features a number of long straights and high-speed corners, which test the skills of the drivers and the settings of the car.

Sebastian Vettel pictured on August 25, 2022© Reuters

On Sunday there will be two DRS zones, the first from turn four to turn five, while the second zone is on the pit straight.

The 2021 Belgian Grand Prix was the shortest Formula 1 world championship race in history after torrential rain allowed the drivers to complete just two laps behind the safety car.

Although only two laps were completed last year, Max Verstappen was rated the winner, and the Dutchman is one of five drivers on the grid to win the Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton has won the event four times, Vettel has claimed the top step at Spa three times in his career, while Ricciardo and Leclerc have one win to their name in Belgium.

Meanwhile, pilot Alpha Tauri Pierre Gasly is due to start its 100th Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend.


Ranking of drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 258
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 178
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 173
4. George Russell (Mercedes) – 158
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 156
6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 146
seven. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 76
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 58
9. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 46
ten. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 41
11. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 22
12. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 19
13. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) – 16
14. Sebastien Vettel (Aston Martin) – 16
15. Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 12
16. Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) – 11
17. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) – 5
18. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 4
19. Alexander Albon (Williams) – 3
20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0
21. Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) – 0


Manufacturer Ranking

1. Red Bull-431
2. Ferrari-334
3. Mercedes-304
4. McLaren-99
5. Alpine – 95
6. Alfa Romeo – 51
seven. Haas – 34
8. Alpha Tauri – 27
9. Aston Martin-20
ten. Williams – 3


SM words green background

We say: Lewis Hamilton will win

With Verstappen and Leclerc poised to race towards the back of the grid after being penalized for using too many engine parts, Sunday’s race could be a chance for one of the Mercedes to claim their first win of the season, and we think Hamilton could be the man to take the top step on Sunday.

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