Formula 1 is finally back this weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix at one of the most exciting circuits on the calendar – Spa. Will Mercedes optimise the opportunity at a track that suits them? Will it be damage limitation for Ferrari? Will Verstappen get beyond the first corner this time? Here are 10 predictions for the upcoming race weekend.
10. Bottas On Pole
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) August 21, 2017
It’s likely that Mercedes will be the strongest team at Spa, so the shootout for pole will be between Bottas and Hamilton. A Finnish surprise is in order, and Bottas will secure pole by less than a tenth on his final Q3 run.
9. Both Williams Into Q3
@MassaFelipe19 – Williams FW40 Mercedes
GP of Spain 2017 – (Barcelona – May 14, 2017). pic.twitter.com/m7DrUcmkzs
— Fernando González (@FerLuGon) May 15, 2017
The Mercedes-powered Williams FW40 still retains traits from its recent predecessors. It’s a different car on circuits that demand more time at full-throttle and seems much weaker at tighter tracks. The team have had a poor season so far barring Massa’s strong start to the year and Stroll’s podium at Baku, but they are due a good result and getting both cars into the top ten in qualifying won’t be as tall an order here as it has been elsewhere.
8. Hamilton To Win
— RACER (@RACERmag) August 10, 2017
The title fight between Hamilton and Vettel will shift back into the Brit’s favour this weekend. No driver has won back-to-back races so far this season, but should Hamilton win here, he could be the first to break this sequence with Monza around the corner too.
7. Ocon Podium
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) August 21, 2017
Force India have been phenomenal so far this season, and the VJM10 will lend itself to Spa. Ocon’s promise has been converted into solid results and finishing behind the Mercedes but ahead of the rest of the field could see a special weekend in store for the young Frenchman. This is where Force India scored their first-ever podium in 2009 with Giancarlo Fisichella claiming 2nd after sticking it on pole. It would be fitting for this to be the venue of their first 2017 podium in what is becoming their strongest season to date.
6. Force India To Outscore Red Bull
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) May 28, 2017
It’s no secret that Red Bull are in trouble this season. The drivers deliver when the car gets to the chequered flag, but the team seem to have settled for 3rd in the Constructors already. The threat from Force India in 4th is a chasm of 83-points, but this margin could easily be reduced following the Belgian Grand Prix.
5. Massa Finishes 6th Or Higher
— Demys Martínez® (@DeMiForMuLa) August 18, 2014
His best finishes so far have been 6th place in Australia and Bahrain. The new regulations have revitalised Felipe Massa, but between the Spanish and British Grand Prix’, he’s only secured five championship points for the team. Stroll has secured eighteen points in the same window, but the Brazilian is long overdue a result, and the car will be stronger at Spa as long as it doesn’t rain.
4. Sainz DNF
— Toro Rosso (@ToroRosso) August 21, 2017
Carlos Sainz and the Belgian Grand Prix aren’t friends. He has retired from both of the races he has started at Spa for Toro Rosso, and there is a sense that attrition will get the better of him once again.
3. No Ferrari On The Podium
11 Grands Prix translated into numbers. Discover our on track stats. pic.twitter.com/XKaLIVtlRg
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) August 20, 2017
Mercedes-powered cars will have such a strong weekend that they will push Ferrari out of the podium places. Both drivers are still on for strong points finishes, but it will be difficult to finish in the top three. Vettel 5th and Raikkonen 7th.
2. Alonso Eau Rouge Overtake
Preparations = under way
This time next Friday we're on track in Belgium
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 18, 2017
It’s been a difficult season for Alonso and McLaren, but the rumour is that the fourth-spec Honda Power unit has made further gains. But it comes at a time in which the upcoming two circuits will really work against any improvements. One redeeming element of McLaren’s struggles is that any questions surrounding Alonso’s motivation and tenacity have been extinguished. He’s been having a proper go and has littered this season with
One redeeming element of McLaren’s struggles is that any questions surrounding Alonso’s motivation and tenacity have been extinguished. He’s been having a proper go and has littered this season with dog fights so far. A cheeky overtake at Eau Rouge would be memorable, albeit for a position outside the points this time at Spa.
1. Hulkenberg In The Points
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) August 21, 2017
Hulkenberg is renowned for outperforming the machinery beneath him. Whilst Renault won’t have their strongest weekend here, the German will probably still somehow find a way into Q3 on Saturday and points at the chequered flag.