Belgian Grand Prix: Weekend Preview

With the Summer Shutdown officially over, Formula One returns to action this weekend, as the tour arrives at the challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The historic 4.32 mile track has played host to classic races and unforgettable moments over the years. In recent memory, the circuit marked Micheal Schumacher’s sublime debut in 1990, as well as the German’s first career victory in 1992. Who could forget the chaotic start to proceedings in 1998, where the race was red flagged in the wake of a colossal twelve car pile up. Spa is a place where unpredictability thrives, whether it be the weather or the outcome, we are always perched on the edge of our seat.

The 2012 Belgium Grand Prix was certainly full of action and controversy, with Romain Grosjean at the center of the storm. The race started in bizarre circumstances, as Maldonado committed an obvious jump start before carnage ensued, as an aggressive move from Grosjean saw him and Hamilton collide. This caused a domino effect as the out-of-control Frenchman careered over the back of Kobayashi before landing on top of the ill-positioned Ferrari – Grosjean came within inches of Alonso’s head. The frightening incident was not the only highlight of the race, as Sebastian Vettel performed a champions drive, climbing up the field from a disappointing P10 starting position to finish in a highly commendable P2. Meanwhile, two kings of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit; Kimi Raikkonen and Micheal Schumacher battled for P3, with the Iceman coming out on top. However, Jenson Button was untouchable on both Saturday and Sunday and claimed a dominant victory – a repeat performance this weekend would certainly surprise even the most optimistic of McLaren fans.

In terms of 2013, the favorite to take victory is certainly a disputed topic. The recent Mercedes resurgence, underlined by Lewis Hamilton’s Hungarian Grand Prix triumph, could stand them in good stead for another positive result. However, the high speed nature of the circuit should play into the hands of Red Bull, so a titanic battle for supremacy between the two teams could be on the cards. Meanwhile, Lotus may struggle due to the lower track temperatures and while the fast corners would benefit their package, a characteristically lackluster performance on Saturday could leave the team with too much work to do during race-day. Ferrari are likely to experience yet more anguish, as their aerodynamic deficiencies could prove overwhelming. Further down the order, Toro Rosso could be the team to watch this weekend, as the excellent balance of the STR8 will surly serve them well in Spa.
Apologies for the very brief preview; I have had an exciting day, as I collected my GCSE results, meaning that time to write was significantly limited. However, the remained of the weekend will be unaffected, with all three articles being posted in typical fashion. FP1 and FP2 analysis will feature in the “Friday Analysis” article which will be posted tomorrow evening; “Saturday Analysis” will feature all of the FP3 news, as well as all the reaction to Qualifying, while Sunday’s “Race Analysis” will be as in-depth as always. With this weekend’s action being broadcast live on both BBC and Sky, there is no excuse to miss a moment of the Belgian Grand Prix!        

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