By News Team
26th August 2021
F1 returns after the summer break and the next track on the list is the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
The season so far has been highly unpredictable, with four different GP winners and nine different drivers stepping onto the podium. Before the summer break, the Hungarian Grand Prix provided one of the most exhilarating races to date, with Esteban Ocon picking up his maiden Formula One win, while Williams registered its first double points finish since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.
Here’s our preview of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton could make history
The Mercedes dominance we’ve all become accustomed to has slowly started to fade out and the new regulation changes coming next season could thrust more teams into contention. Despite this, Lewis Hamilton still sits top of the Drivers’ Championship with an eight-point buffer to second placed Max Verstappen. Hamilton has registered four wins this season and has been on the podium in the last two races. He’ll be on the hunt for his 100th Grand Prix victory this weekend and if he does so, he’ll become the first driver in Formula One history to hit that milestone.
It won’t be easy for the seven-time world champion, though, with Red Bull being a strong force this season. Not to mention the rising tensions between both teams in the paddock as well as on the track. It seems impossible to separate the two at the minute and the market reflects this, with Hamilton joint-favourite to win this weekend at 6/5.
A Sea of Orange
Verstappen is hot on the heels of Hamilton in the championship, and he will be vying to pick up his first win at the circuit. Spa can be seen as a home Grand Prix for Verstappen and it’s difficult to miss the mammoth amount of orange in the grandstands. Support will be rife for the Red Bull driver, who has already been on the top step of the podium five times this season. The last two races have been tough for the Dutchman, finding his Red Bull in the tire wall at the British Grand Prix before nursing his damaged RB16B to a ninth-place finish in Hungary.
For the Milton Keynes-based team, Spa has never been a circuit they’ve gelled with, especially in the turbo-hybrid era. Their last win at the track came in 2014 thanks to Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen has never finished higher than third here. Verstappen is 6/5 to win and if he does, he’ll equal Stirling Moss as the driver with the most race wins to not win a championship (16).
Another Open Podium Picture
What has been adding to the excitement this season is that it’s impossible to predict who will be on the podium. Sergio Perez (4/6), Valtteri Bottas (2/1) and Lando Norris (10/3) have all been on the podium this season and the battle is always a tense one.
Norris has already doubled his points tally from the previous season and is seemingly in the form of his life, while Perez registered his first Red Bull win back in Azerbaijan. Bottas has been under pressure to perform as of late and will be desperate to put his Hungarian Grand Prix mistakes behind him.
Ones to Watch
Fernando Alonso displayed a masterclass in defensive driving at the Hungarian Grand Prix, keeping a charging Hamilton behind him just long enough for his teammate Esteban Ocon to take the chequered flag in first. It was a flashback to his younger days in Formula One and showed the paddock that he’s still got it. Before the season started, he said he may need a few races to acclimatise but if that performance was anything to go by, he’s more than comfortable. A podium could be out of reach for the Spaniard, but a top-six finish is not out of the question (4/1).
Improvements to Ferrari have been visible for quite some time now as they continue their rise back to the top of the grid. Still a fair way off Mercedes and Red Bull, the Prancing Horse is locked in a battle with McLaren for third place in the constructor’s championship. Much to the delight of the Tifosi, Ferrari have managed three podiums this season, with a highest finish of second in Monaco. Carlos Sainz has settled into his new seat fantastically and could well sneak into the podium positions (8/1) if capitalising on mistakes out in front.