Spa Francorchamps 2009: Anybody's Race?

Billy Sexton@@billysextonAnalyst IAugust 24, 2009

VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 23:  Fernando Alonso of Spain and Renault drives during the European Formula One Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit on August 23, 2009, in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Yesterday we saw Brawn GP return to the front of the grid, with Rubens Barrichello this time taking victory—his first of the season.

Pre-race favourites, Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen came in second and fourth, showing they still aren't on par with the Brawns.

Kimi Raikkonen got a second consecutive podium in his Ferrari whilst championship leader, Jenson Button, languished down in seventh with the two Red Bull's scoring zero points between them.

Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso put in another decent showing, finishing fifth and sixth respectively, showing McLaren and Ferrari that they are certainly worth the money.

So this all sets up nicely for an exciting and unpredictable race in Spa Francorchamps next week.

The temperature in Belgium is unlikely to be what it was like in Valencia yesterday and this means that the Brawns could suffer like they did in Silverstone and also at the Nurburgring and the Hungaroring.

With this in mind, Red Bull could jump at this opportunity to strike when the iron's hot, but with a poor showing yesterday, and multiple engine troubles for Sebastian Vettel, who knows what's going on at Red Bull.

So step forward McLaren Mercedes. 

Since a massive update at the German Grand Prix, McLaren have been consistently challenging for podiums and the top grid slots.

However, Spa is a high speed, flowing circuit; the type of circuit McLaren have been struggling with all year. Who knows how the new aero package will fare come next weekend?

With the top three teams looking set to struggle, that leaves us three drivers who could take a shocking victory at the Belgian Grand Prix next weekend.

First up is Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari. Everybody knows he loves Spa, he dominated there in 2007 (the year he won the championship) and was two laps from reigniting his championship push last year.

And in 2009, the Ferrari is getting better and better. Could it be a first win since Spain 2008 for Kimi?

Another contender for the race could be Nico Rosberg. It mat not have been the fastest car in 2009, but the Williams FW31 has certainly been the most consistent—Rosberg has scored in most races.

He is eager to get on the podium this season, and a good performance at this time of year (drivers signing contracts, moving teams, etc.) could really help him out if he wants the second seat at McLaren.

Also, Fernando Alonso could pull out a shock victory at Spa, setting the scene nicely for Monza, as it is rumoured that Ferrari will announce that he is driving for them in 2010.

Alonso has also been consistent this season, and if it wasn't for a pit stop error in Hungary, he could well have been on the podium.

With all the above mentioned in mind, Spa is setting up to be a great race, and I wouldn't dare put money on any driver. With five winners in the past five races, 2009 is finally shaping up to be exciting as previous seasons.


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