F1 – Belgian Grand Prix Preview
After four weeks off, the Formula 1 community has taken a deep breath after the incredible scenes from Hungary. Weather conditions and safety cars turned the grid into chaos. It provided a thrilling finish, where any of four drivers could have taken the victory. As it played out, Daniel Ricciardo took the victory leaving a heavily backed Alonso in second, Hamilton completing the podium.
It also brought another fascinating twist into the rivalry between Mercedes drivers. Hamilton refused to acknowledge team orders. The reasoning being, each car was on separate strategies. Hamilton, with large justification, argued both drivers at that stage were challenging for the race and if Rosberg could show he was able to overtake he would step aside. Mercedes later admitted that the order to Hamilton was whilst the team was under a lot of stress.
However, it will do nothing but add fuel to the flames to those who believe Hamilton is getting a raw deal from his team. His car has also been notoriously unreliable this year, relative to his team-mate.
Despite this, Hamilton's recovery powers this year have been fantastic. He has shown repeatedly he is ready to come back from adversity. With only 11 points between the two drivers, countered by Rosberg' ruthless consistency, the title race sits on a knife edge with Hamilton at 5/6 for the championship.
This weekend returns to Spa, one of the most famous circuits on the calendar. High speed corners and unpredictable weather makes for an enthralling spectacle.
Because of the length of the track tyre choice is very important and tyre degradation can be high, thanks to the famous sweeping corners and long straights. Couple degradation with changing track conditions and cars can lose a lot of time very quickly. The chasing pack will be hoping for some upsets. Daniel Ricciardo, the driver who seems to pop up in the right place at the right time, is 16/1 for victory.
Conditions look unpredictable for qualifying. Hamilton sits 8/11 to be on pole but with changing conditions the rest of the field could quickly come into play. The Williams and Red Bull's may be fancied to cause this upset coming into the weekend. Their recent qualifying performances highlight their beliefs. As a pick of the drivers Bottas is 16/1 for pole and Vettel 33/1.
Rosberg will be feeling that if it wasn't for an ill timed safety car in Hungary he would have waltzed to victory. He is 7/4 to take the victory in Spa. His main priority will be to extend that gap from Hamilton as the season enters its last eight races.
The action starts with qualifying on Saturday 13:00 BST