It's quite difficult to find another race track, which drivers and teams love as much as Spa-Francorchamps. There are a lot of historical F1 circuits like Monza, Monaco, Silverstone or Nurburgring, but none of them can compare to Spa. The main feature of Spa-Francorchamps is the fabled corner in Formula 1 history called "Eau Rouge". In the nature of the Belgian track there is something elusive that makes the heart beat faster and fight to the end.
Track & statistics
Spa-Francorchamps. 44 laps. 308.052 km. 19 turns. Average speed – 238 km/h. Aerodynamics is configured for medium/low level of clamping force. The maximum speed is 335 km/h (with DRS) and 320 km/h (without DRS).
This weekend the key factor will be the engines. The drivers pass 70% of the lap with the fully depressed gas pedal and on one of the spots of the track – from the crackdown in La Source to the breaking point at Les Combes – to 23.5 seconds in a row. Therefore, in Spa teams and drivers face with another difficulty – the high fuel consumption.
The track has interesting statistics – the five different drivers have won here over the past six years. Among them there is no one Finn, although Kimi Raikkonen is the most successful of the current drivers in Spa, on his account four victories here in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009. The absolute record-holder of victories in Belgium and Spa is of course, Michael Schumacher. He made his debut here, won the first victory in career here, and won six times in the total – even without taking into account the victory in 1994, which he lost two hours after the finish.
Other current drivers have less wins in Spa. Lewis Hamilton won Belgian Grand Prix three times, including last year. Sebastian Vettel hasn't won here quite for a long time; his last victory in Spa was in 2013, and another one in 2011. And Daniel Ricciardo was a winner in 2014.
Numbers or what can happen
The 500th point for Sergio Perez if he finishes 8th
The 50th point for Lance Stroll, if he finishes 7th
The 40th fastest lap for Lewis Hamilton
The 10th double (victory and fastest lap) for Kimi Raikkonen
The 100th podium for Kimi Raikkonen
The 30th podium for Daniel Ricciardo
The 60th pole position for Red Bull Racing
The 5th victory for Max Verstappen
The weather in the Ardennes is always changeable, which greatly affects the balance in the peloton during the race weekend.
On Thursday, in Spa-Francorchamps the weather was dry and sunny, but already on Friday it will rain and the air warms up to 18 degrees. On Saturday, the forecast promises rain throughout all day and only 16 degrees. On Sunday, precipitation isn't expected, but in the Ardennes everything is possible.
One year ago in Spa-Francorchamps
As described above, the boring races in Spa are rare case. Paradoxically, but last year it happened. Although, there were a lot of hopes for spectacular race and intrigue - Kimi Raikkonen was leading in the first and third practice sessions. The qualifying was in classic style - Lewis Hamilton got the pole position, and Raikkonen was just fourth. The positions of the first six drivers haven't changed at the start. And on this struggle for victory was over. Vettel couldn't overtake Hamilton, despite the strategy games and safety car on the 30th lap.
However last year's race has a couple of epic moments. For example, Max Verstappen's heartbreaking retirement on the 7th lap, in front of the "orange" stand with the army of Dutch fans.
Force India drivers made a real drama. At the start they had a little clash, then Perez overtook Grosjean outside the track and got 5-seconds penalty. But even despite this Sergio refused to let his teammate Esteban Ocon. On the 30th lap Sergio and Esteban again had a clash, but this time more seriously.
And Mercedes made a big strategy mistake. They decided to put Bottas on Soft tyres, but at the restart he became an easy target for Ricciardo and Raikkonen, who finished the race on UltraSoft. Bottas finished on the 5th position.