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Belgian F1 Grand Prix 2019: Start Time, Drivers, TV Schedule and More

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2019

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives his car in the pits during the second practice session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 30, 2019 ahead of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/Getty Images

Max Verstappen is chasing a third win in five races on Sunday, but it's Lewis Hamilton who continues to lead the world championship ahead of the 2019 Formula One Belgian Grand Prix.

The young Dutchman is in the best form of his career after victories in Austria and Germany, and a further win will see him increase the pressure on Hamilton at the top of the standings.

The reigning world champion finished ninth in Germany, but Hamilton returned to his usual standard in the last race, winning in Hungary for Mercedes.

Ferrari are still searching for their first race win of the season, and Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc both have cars that should run well at Spa.

                   

Date: Sunday, Sept. 1

Time: 2:10 p.m. BST/9:10 a.m. ET

TV Info: Sky Sports F1 (UK), ESPN 2 (U.S.)

Live StreamSky Go (UK), ESPN Player (U.S.)

For a full list of the drivers, visit the F1 website

        

Preview

Having won eight of this season's 12 races, the championship is once again Hamilton's to lose. The Brit leads team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 62 points. However, the Finn has not been consistently fast, ending his last race in eighth, and Verstappen has now emerged as a potential contender.

Red Bull Racing are chasing second-placed Ferrari in the constructors' title race, and Verstappen's talent is beginning to translate into victories.

Verstappen explained Spa is his favourite track:

Max Verstappen @Max33Verstappen

Ready for @SpaGrandPrix, my favorite track! Looking forward to all the orange 👍 #OrangeArmy #BelgianGP 🇧🇪 https://t.co/LYhh0GuTpD

Ferrari looked quick in practice, but with just nine races left, all eyes will be on Hamilton. Expectations grow for yet another world championship win. Mercedes might concede straight-line speed to Ferrari on race day, but the champion has usually found a way to win in the past. 

According to Giles Richards of the Guardian, Hamilton said there's much to do in order to become a six-time champion:

"I know how much work I have still got to do. I know that if I don't turn up in the next few races or I don't deliver, or make mistakes I know I could well lose this championship. There are enough points to turn the tables, so I have to stay focused as I have done in the past and I come into the second half, like I have done each year. If there are areas I need to improve on while not letting other areas drop I truly believe I can do that."

Hamilton's comments show his professionalism, but he can afford to surrender race victories if need be. Verstappen is likely to give chase until the final race, and the 21-year-old is producing a consistency beyond his years.

Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Verstappen said he expects the Ferraris to be the favourites when it's lights out, and he thinks their car is better suited to Spa than Red Bull's, per PlanetF1.com:

"I think this track definitely suits [Ferrari] a bit better than us. They are very strong. They gain a lot of lap time on the straight here, but I think that's not a surprise. We just try to do the best we can from our side. In general, I am quite happy with the car balance. There are things that can be done better, but overall, it's not too bad."

Ferrari have been known over the past few years to have superior straight-line speed over other teams. However, this has not translated into championships in recent campaigns.

Vettel will not want to end the season without a victory in his pocket, but Leclerc is hungry for his first win for the Prancing Horse. The Monegasque could be his German team-mate's biggest threat on the grid.

Verstappen and Leclerc are the world champions of the future, and we might get a peak on Sunday at a rivalry that could dominate the sport for the next decade and beyond.

                  

Prediction: Verstappen to win