Spa-Francorchamps (dpa) – Before it gets started, it will be quiet. Formula 1 commemorates Anthoine Hubert before the start of the Belgian Grand Prix (3.10 p.m. / Sky and RTL).
The Frenchman was killed in a fatal accident at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in a Formula 2 race a year ago. He was only 22 years old.
Then it’s time to put on your helmet, put down your visor and get the most thrills for 44 laps on the longest track on the race calendar.
ATTACK MODE: If you want to beat Hamilton, it’s best to overtake him as soon as possible. He took 93rd pole of his career by more than half a second. Teammate Valtteri Bottas will be next to him. He wants to attack again, despite all 43 points behind Hamilton, he wants the world title. Now he has to show it. Words make neither winners nor world champions.
It could be dangerous for Bottas himself from behind. Because Max Verstappen, the number two of the World Cup (37 points less than Hamilton) in Red Bull, lurks there. He is still the only non-Mercedes winner this year and Spa is almost a home race for the Dutchman: he was born in Hasselt, Belgium. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also counts on Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault in fourth place. The car runs with less downforce than Mercedes and Red Bull and that could pay off on the long straights.
AT THE STOP: The first corner is tight, very tight. But when “La Source” is done, there is only one thing: full throttle. 23 seconds approx. At the stop by the legendary Eau Rouge, uphill with no view, not knowing what comes next, before starting a long straight. Here’s an ideal section to attack. But the course in the Ardennes, often referred to as a roller coaster due to its elevation changes, is generally considered to be overtaking-friendly.
ALMOST TO THE END: A year ago, the Tifosi were happy with a red front row. This time the Ferrari supporters have to look back on the grid. Drive seven, Charles Leclerc in position 13 and Sebastian Vettel in position 14 will have to stop their racing cars before the red lights go out. Prospects for the race? Take good care. Even the two pilots don’t believe in miracles themselves.
ALWAYS A FACTOR: The weather. It always likes to change. On the days before the sun was out, it poured like buckets at an advanced hour on Fridays. When it rains during the race, Spa turns into a cinema with great horsepower.