Back to business at Spa: How the Belgian F1 GP can be won and lost
Insight
Belgian Grand Prix 2015
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Aug 2016   |  12:57 pm GMT  |  121 comments

This weekend F1 roars back into life after the summer break at the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium one of the heritage jewels in the F1 calendar.

It will be a test of character for Nico Rosberg in his battle for victory with Lewis Hamilton; a test of performance for Red Bull, who should be very fast here, especially in the middle sector and a test of resilience for Ferrari, which dispensed with its technical director before the break and now needs to regroup and finish the season strongly. This is Round 13 of 21 so there is still a long way to go and plenty to fight for as Ferrari fell behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ championship before the break.

With 19 corners on a 7km lap, Spa is the longest track on the calendar and one of the toughest on engines, with two sustained periods of flat out full throttle each lap; from La Source hairpin to Les Combes chicane which is around 25 seconds and then later in the lap the run through Blanchimont to Bus Stop chicane.

Belgian Grand Prix 2015

It has some fast, high energy comers that take a heavy toll on the tyres, however it is not the fastest combination of corners in one lap on the F1 calendar; that honour belongs to Silverstone.

Overtaking is easy on the long straights, so teams can plan their fastest strategy knowing that they will be able to clear traffic. However there is a high chance of a Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car and this can wreck a race plan, if it falls at the wrong time.

The weather always plays a part in the strategy planning and execution for this race and being responsive is always useful at Spa. This year with the new tyre rules meaning that each team has three different tyre options to choose from, the supersoft is the qualifying tyre, but the soft and medium the race tyres, as last year. It’s the eighth time that this combination of tyres has been brought to a race and thus is becoming something of a ‘default’ combination, which the teams understand well.

Belgian Grand Prix 2015

This should make life interesting as the supersoft will not last long in the opening phase of the race, so it will be interesting to see the pace offset between the supersoft and soft in qualifying over the long lap to see whether some front runners try to qualify on the soft. The cars starting outside the Top 10 could have quite a tactical advantage, being able to run a longer first stint on soft.

Last year race winner Hamilton did 13 laps on soft, then 17 lap middle stint on mediums before a final 13 lap stint on softs again.Rosberg did something similar, while Grosjean and Perez bagged third and fifth places respectively with two short, punchy stints on softs at the start and then a long final stint of 22 laps to the flag on mediums.

Last year after a weekend of limited dry running in practice, teams had a limited knowledge of how the soft and medium compound tyres would perform in the race. Most teams were briefing that it would be a two-stop race, with some teams perhaps getting marginal on degradation and needing a third stop. No one was contemplating a one-stop for the 44-lap race.

Belgian Grand Prix 2015

However Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari found themselves attempting it after being caught out by a Virtuil Safety Car just at the wrong moment for their race strategy. Realising that they were racing Roman Grosjean for a podium, after a poor qualifying performance, Ferrari decided to run a longer first stint with Vettel to Lap 14 and to put him onto the medium tyres for the middle stint, the idea being that Vettel would have a tyre offset of five laps against Grosjean later in the race and would come through on new soft tyres as Grosjean’s mediums faded and attack him in the closing laps.

However the problem with this plan was if there were a Safety Car or a Virtual Safety Car between laps 19-23, Vettel would be compromised as his rivals around him on soft tyres would pit and be able to move to a set of medium tyres that would take them to the finish.

The nightmare scenario came true; when the VSC was deployed on Lap 21 and Grosjean, Perez, Raikkonen all pitted and effectively took a pit stop in half the normal time.

Belgian Grand Prix 2015

So Ferrari took the gamble to try to make the finish and as we all know, one of his tyres exploded in the closing stages.

Click on this link to view the onboard of Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap from 2015 on F1.com

Belgian Grand Prix in Numbers

If any Mercedes powered car starts on the front row this weekend, the manufacturer will move ahead of Ford and into third on the all-time table of front row starts for F1 engine suppliers. The two companies are currently tied on 301 each, while Renault (388) and Ferrari (472) head the list.

Hamilton led every lap of the German Grand Prix last time out in Hockenheim, and in the process he surpassed Alain Prost’s 2,684 total of F1 laps led to slot into third on the all-time table with 2,732. Ayrton Senna (2,987) and Michael Schumacher (5,111) remain in front of the world champion, but it is possible he could pass the Brazilian if he leads 255 more laps before the end of the season.

Belgian Grand Prix 2015

The Belgian Grand Prix can often generate surprising results and the polesitter at Spa has only won three times in the last eight races at the 4.35-mile track. The 2011, 2012 and 2013 races also featured a podium finisher who had started outside the top eight on the grid, as did 2015, when Grosjean came third for Lotus from ninth on the grid

Qualifying on Saturday offers several drivers the chance to continue positive streaks or break bad runs. Nico Rosberg, who has a 100 per cent finishing record in the nine Belgian races he has started, has qualified first or second at the last 18 races – although a grid penalty meant he started sixth in Austria.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat has never started in the top-10 on the grid at Spa, while Nico Hulkenberg has not qualified higher than ninth for the Belgian Grand Prix since 2010 when he drove for Williams.

Belgian Grand Prix 2009

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen is something of a Spa specialist, with four F1 victories at the track, a figure that is twice as many as the number of wins he has secured at any other circuit in his career.

But the Belgian track has not been a happy hunting ground for McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. The Spanish driver has never won an F1 race at Spa in 12 attempts and he has only finished on the podium there on one occasion since 2007, when he came second for Ferrari in 2013. The double world champion also has five retirements in Belgium, a number beaten only by the six times he has failed to finish at Montreal.

Manor’s Esteban Ocon will make his F1 debut this weekend and in doing so he will become the tenth teenager to make a Grand Prix start. The 19-year-old Frenchman, who will be four days younger than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was when he made his first F1 appearance at Indianapolis 2007 for BMW-Sauber, has already driven in four FP1 sessions for Renault and completed the mid-season test for Mercedes.

What are you expecting from the Belgian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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121 comments

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1

I just hope this feeling of anticipation that's currently flowing through my body isn't flushed out by a Mercedes dominance in qualy.

Don't care who wins, just want to see a race that has me on the edge of my seat from the green flag to the chequered.

2

GO LEWIS!!!

🙂

3

The good news about Spa 2016 is Hamilton is expected to take a 2 engine penalty. So we should get some nice back marker action. The less good news, if he does have to take the penalty, I do not expect him to do more than a representative lap in Q1. After that he should just park the car and wait for Sunday. It may even be in his advantage to take the pit lane start to avoid any problems at the start. It will be an interesting race for him as ideally he would like to end the race on the podium BUT not less than 6th to give himself a more than one race victory advantage over Nico (who should win the race easily) in Monza the following week.

4

Yes, going out in Q1 seems to be Lewis' best plan. He'll keep his tyres new, and by not making Q3 he'll get free choice of starting tyre.

5

Spa is one of the best tracks for Mercedes. I expect P3 to be about 1 second adrift of pole time. Sorry, mate :(. The real excitement will come from the different tyre strategies: Mercedes could be on S-S-M (no SS in Q1 nor Q2), Red Bull on SS-S-M and Ferrari on SS-S-S. And of course rain could help :).

6

Sounds about right to me...

7

Considering last year Hamilton was 1.4 seconds in front of Botas in 3rd and 1.5 or so in front of Ric ( the first of the RB's) the only thing likely to stop this from being a runaway Merc 1-2 is changeable conditions.

Even with RB closing the gap in terms of Hp, you'd be a fool for thinking they have a legitimate and genuine chance of running the Mercs to anything closer than maybe 5-7 tenths.

8

Great to have F1 back - thankfully had the olympics to watch over the break this year so it hasn't felt as long
It will be interesting to see what MERCEDES do with Hamilton with regards the use of power units and if they take the double penalty now and hope the race is sunny, dry and without big incidents to limit any losses (assuming they can take two engine in one meeting of course!)

Rosberg has to take this opportunity if they do as if he finishes behind Hamilton after potentially starting in front of him I fear he won't be able to mount a proper challenge over the rest of the season

Roll on Sunday!

9

HAM will get his new engines when the Mercedes update drops in.

10

No engine change will take place at Spa for Hamilton, according to Toto Wolf -- as he would be "disadvantaged" if they do it earlier than Monza --Mercedes intends to make an update there.

11

Surely they would want a wet race if they take the penalty. If it's dry 6th is the best he will realistically finish.

12

Why is 6th the best he can finish? Plenty of overtaking opportunities at Spa and Ferrari is running 30-40 seconds behind Hamilton normally

13

Yes but there are other cars in between the back and RB/Ferrari so he will lose a lot of time coming through the pack. Anyway it doesn't look like he's changing the engine anyway so it's academic.

14

Looks like sunshine throughout. This is Spa though, so check again in 5 minutes. 😃

15

It depends - if they take the penalty then they can start on the better tyre and make up more places early on then I think they will get higher than p6

I'm a dry race and with the way Drs is at this track it should be easy to pass cars that are close to their terminal speed (which is one of the thing i really hate about Drs as the zones Arendt tuned to allow cats to just have a a bit of a run rather that just fly past and tuck in for the next corner)

16

Forecast is for hot and dry but with 40% possibility of rain later in the afternoon.

Without wishing to re-open old controversies, can't help recalling 2008 🙂 .
Will we see another epic battle between Raikkonen and Hamilton?
That looks unlikely this year with the current dominance, but I think none of us will be surprised if we see Kimi leading this GP at some point. If HAM does find himself in pursuit, here's hoping he remembers to stay within the rules this time!!

17

Well he was within the rules, insofar as Charlie Whiting told McLaren that he had given back the place enough. If he would've told them no, give it back and stay behind for a corner, Lewis would've done that, and he likely would've finished 1st anyways.

Instead they created a new rule, or rather a rule clarification, and decided to enforce it retroactively!

18

Can of worms opened.

19

Are you placing a wager this weekend? Where's the smart money going ?

20

Not sure there is much value especially if it stays dry. Possibly a modest each way stake on either RB or Kimi, you never know there could be some chaos at the start.

21

Hope Lewis wins
Max second
Kimi third.
Ros DNF.

22

1 HAM
2 RAI
3/4 RIC and VES
VET grumbling in 5-7th
Possibly...!

23

Wow, just dawned on me that Kimi's 2009 win was his 3rd last win! It seems Massa's "winning time" is far in the past, and Kimi's not as much, yet the last year they won multiple races in a season is 2008 for both.

24

Massa hasn't won a race since November 2008, and has been pretty dismal this summer taken in the round. I think he should have been sacked during the summer break, and yet get criticised for saying so!! Do even his most dedicated sycophantic followers think the Brazilian is race winning material even though he is past his best???

25

Massa = assento mais quente

26

Should be a good race.
Many variables.
Lewis for the win. Max and Vettel on the Podium .
Tyres Weather and drivers trying to hold on to their positions in the team... Sauber Renault Williams etcetera.
Hopefully some good stewards at Belgium and not a rag tag of past 1970s drivers with no idea of modern racing and no one who is friends with Rosberg Snr...or we'll have a A Jones type penalty all over again 😉.

27

Best of British to Lewis 👍

28

Could be a hum digger of a race. Monza is when L. Hamilton is more likely to take his engine penalties. He is super fast on that track so will be the better option. Lewis for the win at Spa. Weather permitting I hope the race starts in the dry.

29

Even if it's wet Bif you just know it will start in the dry anyway.

Remember this race in 98 at Spa and Schumacher running into the back of Coulthard?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TeAuQ2Xem4Q

Murray's commentary is priceless!
He went from having a coronary to immediately going back to the consummate professional he was.

Ah, the days when men were allowed to be men and actually race like one..

30

Welcome back to to the F1 show after the Olympics festivities

I think the Belgian race will give us the teams' pecking order for the reminder of the season as pretty much everybody has switched to 2017.

Regards the tyre strategy, it's true that supersofts, softs and mediums has become the default strategy therefore once again the teams will try to stretch the supersofts in a bid to gain a free pitstop under the virtual safety car.

Otherwise, what I look forward to at the Belgian grand prix is to see what surprise podium we will get this time after Fischella finished P2 in 2009.

Fun fact:

In Spa's history it has ever rained on race day for 20 consecutive years

31

Lewis 1
Ricciardo 2
Max 3
Vettel 4
Rosberg 5

32

Hope Rosberg doesn't do anything dumb again..like swipe the back wheel of his team mates car. Or have another let's force him or Max off the track. Or derates his engine cough cough !
🏁Come On Lewis🏁

33

If I were in charge at Mercedes, this is the race where I would take Lewis's additional engine. The ease of passing, the engine demands, and the high chance of rain or a safety car all mean the race can be very unpredictable. Therefore the potential cost of the grid spot penalty seems lower here, especially given Lewis's racecraft.

34

hamilton has had experience on all the tracks and knows best where to take the penalty so he is in the best position to decide, not whoever is in charge. i remember hamilton enjoying his 2008 drive to second from the back in a wet race in monza.
he also got enough life left in his current engine to survive this race as he did a lot of engine saving in hockenheim.

35

@ aveli...so wolff and paddy lowe are totally redundant in this issue?

36

no kenneth...they have an expert in hamilton who they ask for advice just like all the other experts they have in different fields at mercedes benz f1 racing team.

37

high chance of rain or a safety car

That's all the more,reason why I think it's highly unlikely he will take the engine penalties this weekend.

As James mentioned in the article, we all saw how an untimely SC last year ruined Vettels race so were the same thing to happen again to Lewis it could really ruin his weekend.

With F1 all being about the numbers it's for this reason I think the smart play is to take them at Monza where the conditions at this time of year are far more stable then in the Ardennes.

38

But the safety car could just as easily swing things in his favour as against

39

Hardly worth the risk though either way is it.

Guess we'll see come the weekend however I'd be very, very surprised if he takes them here.

40

Call me surprised..

41

Some Spa stats:

The Belgian Grand Prix was held at
the old, longer Spa track from
1950-1970.

The modern, shorter version of
Spa opened in 1983.

1) Schumi 6 wins, Senna 5 wins,
Clark + Kimi = 4 wins, Fangio +
Damon = 3 wins.

2) Since 1983: Mclaren 11 wins
Ferrari 7 wins, Williams 3 wins,
Red Bull 3 wins

3) Before Schumi’s 1996 win,
Ferrari’s last win at Spa was in
1966

4) Fangio is the only pilot to have
won the Belgian race in 3
different teams

5) Senna & Clark are the only ones
to have won 4 back to back races.
Schumi and Kimi have won 3 back
to back.

6) Since cars have been racing at
Spa (1925), Senna is the only pilot to
have won more than one race
from pole and he did so in 4
consecutive years.

7) Since 1983, 11 out of 30 have
won from pole whereas since
1950, 16 out of 48 have been
victorious from pole.

8) Since 1983, the only
nationalities to have been
successful at Spa are; 5 Brits, 2
Brazilian, 2 Finnish, 2 German, 1 French, 1 Australian

9) The track has seen 15 one time winners out of 48 events

10) Fangio, Damon and Schumi
have the record of having gone
the longest between wins >>> 4
years.

12) The only drivers to have won
at Spa twice and gone on to win
two titles are Vettel, Schumi, Senna,
Fangio and Ascari.

42

Interesting post. How do you come up with finding these stats?

43

@ Mighty P

Yes I find the stats at wikipedia

44

Are you sure about all these? 10) Hamilton’s 2015 win was 5 years on from his first at Spa.

45

@ KRB

Hehe I noticed the mistake late because I had just copied and pasted this list from 2014

46

Interestingly the version used from 1950-70 isn't really the long version of Spa either as the circuit after WW2 was just 8.6 miles where as the pre war circuit was roughly 9.3 miles . However when you look at original version of circuits a la pre war non look quite a terrifying as the original pre war Hockenheim which existed from 1932-37 . 7.485 miles (not as big) but with only 7 or 8 corners apparently . If a modern F1 car had ever had a chance to do a lap of that the speeds would have been terrifyingly insane both in terms of straight line average lap speed . No wonder people saw the Nurburgring as safer than Hockenheim back in the 1930s.

47

How about Avus for a crazy circuit?

decom_image_57bd67c85e05f.pngdecom_image_57bd67c85e05f.png
48

FIA would easily see 6 corners there, if not more. Where would pit in and out be though, if they kept the start line there? Imagine the start ... the grid slots would snake around the second last corner ... something like what happened at Spa not too long ago.

49

@ Stephen Taylor

Without doubt, humans living in the pre-war time were made of granite

50

James do you think there's any realistic chance of Kimi beating Merc and RBR this upcoming weekend and winning this GP? J Also the theory is Kimi struggles in slow 90 degree corners( particularly since his comeback) . There are less of these at Spa ( possibly than any other current F1 circuit) is this the reason why makes the Belgium race his strongest historically James ?

51

records show that raikkonen has performed much better at spa than most circuits.

52

I think he just likes the proper old school circuits. He seems to go to sleep at the car park tracks.

53

Don't we all Nick..😑

54

We certainly do Sarp, glad F1 is back at a proper track.

56

Correction:

10) Fangio, Damon and Schumi
have the record of having gone
the longest between wins >>> 4
years.

----------------------------------------------

Lewis has the record of longest gap between wins i.e. 5 years

57

is that at monaco?

58

@ aveli

Yes Lewis also has the Monaco record of having gone 8 years before next win

59

You need to.get it right the first time Ferret otherwise you'll never get the call up from James to write your own ' Grand Prix Facts ' article 😉.

60

@ Sarsippious

Oh no, humans will always make mistakes, that is one fact that will never change

61

Agh, knew I should have read all the comments first! You're onto it.

62

Anyone who thinks racing is too safe and too easy should think back 15 years ago - Luciano Burti tried to overtake Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) at Spa with devastating consequences. The grass was still wet from the previous day rain, meaning no speed was scrubbed off. He hit the tyre barrier at 180 MPH, and went to 0 MPH in less than 2 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lc_9wCEs7o

I don't know what the recorded G-force was, but the fact was it was a hell of a sickening impact and effectively finished Burti's top line racing career.

63

I'd forgotten that... Very scary. Wonder of a halo would have helped?

64

good example but i think driving standards are much higher now than those days. current drivers know better how to overtake..

65

those g force records are useless without an indication of the direction in which they act. they seem to forget that force is a vector quantity. many seem to quote those figures without understanding what they mean.

66

In which vector coordinate would a 40 g force feel OK?

67

coordinates?
thought so...

68

He was so lucky as well Gaz that he didn't meet the less protected barriers 20 metres further down otherwise it could've been a life ending accident.

Irvine's response was also very admirable at the time and it reminded me of Senna running back to help Eric Comas at Suzuka in 1992.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EOGiguIUyZ4

69

Aside of reliability Spa is a real test of courage and this is why Raikkonen has won it more times than anyone else of the current drivers . His win in 2009 was very special because that Ferrari was horrible & despite the fact he was already shafted by the Scuderia

On the flip side Alonso has never won at SPA- hello friends........

Should be a great race I think RBR can challenge Mercs in changeable conditions otherwise its Lewis in dry. Hope Ferrari can challenge too just dont see it right now.

Ps. This clip has to be played every summer break!
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gP-jRSr9gK8

70

raikkonen has won spa more times in the distance past. it is therefore not correct to claim that he is better at spa than the rest. most of his wins weren't against vettel and hamilton.

71

So anyone not beating Vettel and Hamilton are not good? What a poor way of saying ...that means all drivers prior to 2007 were not good because they could not beat Vettel and Hamilton. LOL.

72

that's not what i meant and you know that..looking at just how many times raikkonen won spa may suggest that he is the best driver at spa until you remember how hamilton humiliated raikkonen and his Ferrari in a slower mclaren and realised that raikkonen scored most of his victories again less skilled, trained and capable drivers of the past.
watch a happily married raikkonen at spa this weekend, doing his stuff..

73

So his beating Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton (your benchmark) in 2004, 2005 and 2007 is not enough? It is incorrect that you claim that he did not beat Hamilton. All you have for criticism is his 2008 performance in damp conditions in which Ferrari was definitely slower (even Massa did not match Hamilton in Spa in 2008 who was otherwise beating him on and off at other circuits that season).

74

we all saw raikkonen overtake hamilton on the straight up the hill, demonstrating that the ferrari had a lot more torque and was faster uphill let alone down hill. raikkonen pulled away until the rain started to fall and switched relevance to driver skill. at that point hamilton hunted him down until he caught up with him and we all know the rest. raikkonen eventually ran out of skill into the wall all by himself.
if the mclaren was faster in the wet as you claimed, weren't both cars ahead of the ferraris?

75

@Aveli- The Ferrari was quicker in a straight line & the McLaren had more down force,On balance I would say they were driving very similar performance cars over a season but in wet conditions the Mclaren with its df was a much a better chassis both on aero as well dynamics evidenced by how easily it changed direction in both wet & dry conditions (look at the onboard of Lewis at Spa - its very obvious).

We all know in F1 - Downforce is King especially in wet conditions. I actually thought Lewis deserved that win at the time but the more I look at it the more uncertain I am. Either way it was nail biting stuff for me because they are easily my favourite drivers. Still if we keep saying "If" around 2003/5 Kimi could very easily have been a triple WDC and never left F1 in the first place. Nothing in the world have been more satisfying than Kimi/ Lewis at Mclaren 2007-10 despite his 2007 title at Ferrari.

76

that's very interesting ellie, but i think the drivers discuss with the engineers about how to set the car up for downforce and mechanical grip as well as drag. if hamilton set his car up in that manner to humiliate raikkonen and by pointing that out, you're hilighting just how great he was even in his second season into the sport.
i enjoyed it and like raikkonen too..

77

I believe even JA himself pointed out many times during that season that the McLaren had better mechanical grip than the Ferrari.

78

i only go by what i see. i am yet to reach the stage where i can gather information from believe and able to measure mechanical grip of different cars. please remind me which instrument is used to measure mechanical grip and the units in which it is measured,

79

Right... you seem to be able to gather lots of other bits of information on Hamilton to suit your arguments.

80

am only able to do so because that information is readily available.

81

"how hamilton humiliated raikkonen and his Ferrari in a slower mclaren"

Apart from it wasn't slower in that instance, it was faster in those conditions.

82

@Aveli- I never actually said he was "better than anyone else". But seeing as you mention it- Yes he is better than everyone else at Spa - even his solid 4th in12 was good considering that underpowered Lotus.

Hamilton has been in F1 9 prev years now. Alonso 14 years, Button 16 years, Vettel 8, Its not like the other WDC havent been around long enough )or in dominant equipment) & Kimi's had his run of problems too in his 13 prev seasons & esp given his break in 10/11 the others had far more opportunity in his absence- Yes particularly Vettel/ Hamilton!.

Its very obvious Raikkonens drives of Spa & Suzuka are the stuff of legend and Noone not even Hamilton have been so impressive at the 2 Ultimate drivers tracks in F1..Not when they were young & not now in untouchable Mercs. Lewis & Kimi were epic in 2008 - too bad they cancelled each other out!.

Keep in mind 2 of Kimis 4 wins were in cars that had no right to be there. A banged up Mp4-19B, and that F2009- Noone in Ferrarinbelieved he could win in that car.

83

raikkonen 4 hamilton 3 but raikkonen's been racing longer in f1..

84

2004-2005-2007-2009 = 4 wins for Kimi.

You either like saying outrageous things to draw attention to yourself or you have a childlike hobby of making things up.

85

have i picked up another fan?
thanks for paying so much attention.

86

correct, as shown in my correction

87

to be fair, hamilton has won 3 times at spa and so has raikkonen. raikkonen never won it in 2008, hamilton did.

88

my apologies ellie...i only realised what you meant after posting.
you're absolutely right.

89

sorry ellie....please ignore my last reply. was in a rush..Raikkonen has surely performed relatively best at spa..

90

did hamilton not beat raikkonen in slower mclaren back in 2008?
if you forgot, take a look at the action on that day again before claiming that raikkonen is better at driving on that track. completely outclassed!

91

Perhaps you forgot that the McLaren was the car to beat in damp slippery conditions as it had better mechanical grip. The Ferrari had better aero.

92

i do remember that at the end of that season, mclaren was the best car but not throughout the season...they outdeveloped the field but weren't good enough at the start nor in the middle phase of the season. race results are still available for your viewing...

93

They were good at twisty circuits and in cool wet conditions (the end of Spa race). The Ferrari was good on faster flowing circuits and in hotter conditions.

94

Most of his wins weren't against Vettel or Hamilton

Which means absolutely NOTHING..

95

why does it mean nothing? f1 is a competition between athletes and engineers. you have to compete with someone to claim that you are better at them at an event. you can't compete with coulthatd and claim you're better than verstappen..

96

Based on that logic you can't claim Hamilton as the greatest driver of all time, over guys like Senna, Lauda, Clarke ect, because he didn't race against them.

You just can't pick and chose what rules you want to apply to other's when they contradict everything you try and push, laughably most of the time, when applied to your boy Lewis.

97

You never know, maybe the hot weather / track will play into Ferrari's, and particularly car no 7's, hands.

98

Thank you for that clip.
On paper the mercs and RBs are unbeatable here, but this is Iceman Kimi we are talking about!

99

there's only room for one winner.

100

He's been honeymooning in Formentera (Balearic islands) recently - reading one of the daily Portuguese newspapers in Lisbon recently, there was some photo's of his bikini clad bride and Kimi's rather scrawny pasty faced torso in baggy black shorts (and a silly Oakley baseball cap) enjoying the clear blue waters of the Med...............

Disagree about 2009 - his best win at Spa, and indeed his entire career was in 2004. On a dry track, starting from mid grid, he ended up beating Schumi fair and square including a ballsy move on the 7* champ at Eau Rogue. And keep in mind Schumi was at his peak of his powers driving THE best car of 2004, so for the IceMan to win in his improving but still unwieldy McLaren MP4-19B was probably his best drive of his career.

101

Kimi really is scrawny these days, as is Vettel. I guess it gives them more flexibility in terms of ballast. Still, his stunning new bride doesn't seem to mind! Having a 9 figure bank balance probably doesn't do any harm 🙂

102

absolutely!

103

@Gaz Boy:- Ok I will agree with 2004 given Massa launched into him at the start-broke his floor & then he had a gear shift problem toward the end & still managed to keep Michael behind after the last SC 3 laps to go (infact he put 3 sec in him), thats the mark of the speed he has at this circuit, every win has been special in its own way.

Funny when he was jet skiing last year he look more solid than anyone on the grid but agree he can look thin and pasty at other times. .Maybe the honeymooning has taken it out of him 😂

104

Spa.... oh yes... consistently the flagship race of the F1 season.

Why is it that it does not deserve a heritage payment for what it has brought to the circus like some of the manufacturers get?

In my humble opinion, FOM should recognise that tracks like Spa, Silverstone, Monza, Monaco & Suzuka should never be at risk from being cut from the calendar.

They simply don't build em like they used to.

105

Monaco does get a special, well not payment but lack of payment for it's heritage

106
Edge of Adhesion

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Albert Park deserve to be on that list.

Actually most non-Tilke circuits do, now that I think about it. 😉

107

And Imola, F1 needs to bring back the San Marino Gp.

108

Albert Park? ALBERT PARK????

I think you mean Adelaide mate!

109

Hoping Lewis takes his engine penalties here. I can't see why Merc will take the risk at letting Lewis race with his old engine on a track which is so hard on them. But looking forward to the weekends race on the legendary Spa.
Ahhhh, Spa,Monza, Hochenhiem, Silverstone. Tracks that ooze history. The heart and soul of F1. Gives me goose bumps😊👍.
Good luck to one and all on the grid.... But come on lewis🏎🏎🏎🏁

110

44 hot laps..

111

44 LH
The Victor 👍

112

we'll find that out on sunday..

113

Spa is an amazing circuit (those last laps of the 2008 event were legendary, as was the rain soaked 1998 race), though i do miss the old bus stop chicane, watching the cars approach under the trees before the sharp left/right used to be an iconic F1 moment. Remember when Montoya went around the outside of Michael Schumacher there? Absolute genius!

114

montoya was a chicane expert.

115
Edge of Adhesion

Don't forget Webber on Alonso a few years ago. Heart in mouth stuff.

The unforgettable image of Michael Schumacher steaming around to the McLaren garage to have a straightener with DC.

MS lapping faster than the field with only 3 wheels and no front wing. Rain-meister indeed.

A very 'appy Fisi in the Force India auditioning for a Ferrari dive for the next race (Monza) in 2009.

The list goes on...

116

Any news on when Ham will take his engine pen
and also do you know if merc are going to bring a up graded engine this year

117

Forecast is looking hot and dry all weekend.
Best chance so far this year for the Red team and no. 7 in particular; hoping to see a fifth Spa victory.

118
Gareth (the Philadephia one)

My favourite track of the year. What a difference a real track makes!

Spa, then Suzuka, then.... Monza and Silverstone some way back. I'd love to drive some laps at Spa in my own car.

119

Hopefully RIC can win with HAM having a DNF with a new engine change. That will be exciting as it is boring when the 1 person wins all the time or 1 team

120
edward millington

Hope the weather helps out.

121

Hamilton set to take grid penalty -- which means Hamilton is poised to drop 20 places on Sunday.

My cat is telling me that Rosberg will have the DNF -- wich means Hamilton shall lead the championship by 37 points after Spa.

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