The summer break is over, and the title run-in to the 2014 Formula One starts here with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
Precious little splits Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in the standings and on the track, and behind them the racing has been fascinating.
At the iconic Belgian venue, a thriller seems almost assured: But how will it play out? We've asked our experts to break down the race as they see it.
And behind them, a huge scrap continues to unfold to be the best of the rest.
Here are our best guesses as to how the race will play out:
Mark Patterson: Hamilton looked ominous in Free Practice 2, clear in front of the field, but behind Nico Rosberg things looked a little more bunched up. The gap to Mercedes was closing before the summer break, and despite the power demands of Spa, Mercedes will have to fight even if they come out on top—especially if someone like Valtteri Bottas hooks up a perfect qualifying lap.
Oliver Harden: The second half of the season should represent a fresh start for Lewis Hamilton, who will finally return to pole position. Nico Rosberg should provide a sterner test on race day, with the Williams drivers set to cause a few headaches at Mercedes.
Matthew Walthert: Hamilton has not been on pole since Spain—that streak has to end at some point, right? After nipping Rosberg in qualifying, the Brit will drive a clean race for his second win in Belgium (the first came with McLaren in 2010). I'm going with 16 finishers, but there could be fewer, particularly if it rains. Chaos at the first corner—La Source—is not uncommon at Spa.
Neil James: Hamilton will own the weekend—it's been threatening to come for so many races—this, surely will be that time. The racer's track will suit the Briton and give him a chance to lay down a marker going into the final races of the campaign.
Bob Margolis: After suffering 2 DNFs and racing from 20th and 22nd starting positions in successive weeks to a podium finish, Lewis Hamilton remains in the championship hunt and has clearly positioned himself as the better driver at Mercedes. As the world championship resumes so does his journey to a 2014 title.
|Columnist||Mark Patterson||Oliver Harden||Matthew Walthert||Neil James||Bob Margolis|
|Pole Position||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton|
|Race Winner||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton|
|Fastest Lap||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg|
|Number of Finishers||16||17||16||17||15|
Here's how we did at the Hungaroring and what the results of the race did to our scores so far this season:
|Columnist||Mark Patterson||Oliver Harden||Matthew Walthert||Neil James||RESULT|
|Pole Position||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg|
|Race Winner||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Daniel Ricciardo|
|Fastest Lap||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg|
|Top Team||Mercedes||Mercedes||Mercedes||Mercedes||Red Bull|
|Number of Finishers||18||17||16||17||16|
|Points This Season||28||27||26||26||-|
How the Scores Are Calculated
The right answer earns you one point, except in the case of total finishers, where you can be two cars either side. However, if you predict the exact correct number of finishers, you pick up two points.
Feel free to play along in the comments to see how you fare against our predictions.
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