Edition 2: Spa-Francorchamps: My Thoughts On The Belgain Grand Prix
A drivers look at the track
Eau Rouge. La Source. Blanchimont. Pouhon. These names are etched into the folklore, the whole fabric of Formula One. It can only be one circuit.
The best circuit in the world. A traditional F1 venue. About as far away from a Tilke designed track as you can get.
So, what's it like to drive?
The lap begins with a short dash to the hairpin, La Source. It's all very tight on the entry and through the corner, but opens up with a good and highly grippy run-off on the exit, you can run right off the track and still not lose out. It's very important to get a good exit as it leads downhill to the most famous section on any track in the world.
Eau Rouge. Left Right up hill. Bang over 4g in the middle... up out the top, easily flat in todays cars...like a cork out of a bottle... must get the line and exit spot on or you'll be slow all down the following straight and gobbled up by the following cars!
As late as possible onto the brakes for Les Combes, a great overtaking place for the brave. Climbing again, right hander after a small straight, pushing downhill, use the kerbs get a good line into Pouhon.
A double right hander, flat out downhill, really tough on the neck, into the middle of the track, nicely flowing.. leading to the flat out section through the plunging downhill sections of 12,13,14 and 15 all flat-out in an F1 car, into Blanchimont, flat out again.
You are really feeling the low downforce of the car through these, as you need a maximum straightline speed set up here.
Huge stop into The Bus Stop , don't run over the chicane, exit on the right, climbing again over the line, into another lap.
Spa-Francorchamps. The best circuit in the world.
Expect the team to be challenging this weekend, but perhaps for a podium rather the the outright win. Hamilton is expecting to be less competitive here, and I agree although he'll be in there somewhere. I also expect Heikki to have a good run here.
Everybody seems to think that Kimi will do really well here and push for a win. I don't. The F60 hides it's deficiencies on a slower circuit rather like the McLaren, but not here and I think he will be fighting for points rather than the win. This will be Badoers last race drive.
Surprised me with their pace in Valencia, but again, I think the low downforce set up will show up the poor car. Robert may get a point or two, but Nick only will if it rains and he flukes the tyre choice again.
Alonso cannot be discounted, but sometimes you think that The Regie have turned the corner, and they are nowhere. This could easily be one of these races. Still he could get a point or two. Expect Romain to go steadily here, and could sneak a point I reckon.
I think they'll run a bit better here, and thoroughly expect Jarno to do some serious stuff in qualifying. After all, he's driving for his future. Tim? Heavy fuel load. Run long. 9th. Again.
The built in balance and speed of the car will put Toro Rosso further up the grid than normal, but points will be hard to come by. Sebastien will get into Q3 and Jaime Q2, but no points.
Red Bull Racing
The pre-race favourites and surely they'll bounce back after an awful Valencia. And if it rains, even more so. It'll be tight between the drivers, although Mark may have an advantage as the team says they'll limit Sebastiens running through practice because of his engine shortage. Should be a 1-2.
Fully expect Nico to have another good race. More than likely he'll be fastest in practice. Kazuki will show flashes of speed but will be behind the German (or Finn, as his Dad's Finnish). Definite points for Nico. Possible podium?
Still improving after a strong race in Spain for both drivers, especially Adrian. Both into Q2, maybe Adrian into Q3. Would be great to see them score a point.
How much will the cooler weather affect the Brawns? Will they maintain the Valencian form? I'm not sure and expect the Red Bulls to be faster. I fully expect Jenson to get his head back in gear and beat Rubens, and minimise the damage done by the team down the road in Milton Keynes.
Difficult to see past the Red Bulls and Brawns here, back to the pecking order earlier in the season. Rosberg could do well, and Kimi?
My prediction? GULP.
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