It's been a long Summer break, but Formula 1 is finally back, and we couldn't be more excited!
The fastest racing series in the world heads to one of the most beautiful and exhilarating tracks around, Spa-Francorchamps. The home of the Belgian Grand Prix for decades now, Spa is beloved by everyone, and will be covered in orange for the continued fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
What should fans expect for the 12th round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship? Let's get into it!
A high-speed duel?
Spa has long been a Mercedes playground thanks to its power-circuit nature. However, in 2021 it's looking like Honda is on a level with Mercedes when it comes to ultimate straight-line speed.
Having dominated the speed traps in France, Max Verstappen and Red Bull will be confident of getting into Les Combes ahead of the competition.
It's worth noting too, that Lewis Hamilton hasn't had the best of luck at Spa-Francorchamps. He's only won there four times, and three with Mercedes. For him that's a remarkably poor record, and includes his famous 2014 clash with teammate Nico Rosberg.
Verstappen's best finish is third ('18 & '20) at Spa, one of his two home tracks. This year he's almost guaranteed to be on the top two steps though, and with a sea of orange supporting him, he's going to be confident of a sixth victory this season.
Spa is one of the best-known and most loved circuits in the world. Set in the Ardennes forest and featuring huge elevation change, it's a rollercoaster of a track.
The main overtaking places at Spa are turn 5, the Les Combes chicane at the top of the Kemmel straight, and turn 18, the bus stop chicane.
It's very tricky to get past in the middle sector, but a tyre difference could let someone find an overtake at turn 12.
Of course, that whole sector 2 run is a sensational journey, one that is waiting to catch drivers out. Turn 8 is an understeery nightmare, the wall comes very close at turn 9, ready to grab anyone who is over-ambitious on the throttle. We've seen the gravel on the exit of turn 13 catch drivers out recently too. It only takes being a millemetre wide for your race to end at Spa.
Let's start with the most important part of any race weekend... When is it on!
Below are the session times for this race weekend.
|Practice 1 (Friday 27th)||5:30-6:30||10:30-11:30||11:30-12:30|
|Practice 2 (Friday 27th)||9:00-10:00||14:00-15:00||15:00-16:00|
|Practice 3 (Saturday 28th)||6:00-7:00||11:00-12:00||12:00-13:00|
|Qualifying (Saturday 28th)||9:00-10:00||14:00-15:00||15:00-16:00|
|Race (Sunday 29th)||9:00-10:00||14:00||15:00|
How to watch
In the UK viewers will need a Sky Sports F1 package to watch all the Formula 1 this year.
Those that don't have Sky Sports can get limited-time access to the races via NowTV.
In the USA ESPN has exclusive rights to Formula 1, with ESPN2 showing the practice sessions while the ESPN main channel will show qualifying and the race.
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||187|
|Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||104|
|Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||30|
|Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||18|
|Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||2|
|Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1|
Racing alongside F1 at Spa is Formula 3. The junior category has provided awesome racing entertainment, with it's 30-car field and no pitstops. Red Bull junior Dennis Hauger has been dominating the series, sitting atop the standings with 152 points, 63 clear of Jack Doohan.
The F3 racing will be split into three races, two sprint races on Saturday and the feature race on Sunday morning.
The first sprint race will reverse the top 10 from qualifying, while the second sprint will reverse the top 10 from the first sprint race. Sunday's feature race will take the results from qualifying.
The W Series will also be supporting this weekend. With a Saturday race at 3:30pm.