We’ve all had a friend that try to go a whole Lent without something – in our case, a friend tried 40 days without coffee. It took him a while but he managed it – then he had an espresso and went haywire.
Why are we telling you this, we hear you cry?
Well, as an F1 fan, that’s how we feel when Spa rocks up. There’s been one Formula One race in last 7 weeks – the Hungarian Grand Prix – and we are starved of the on-track action just as much as we are bored with the off-track month of politics. The Belgian Grand Prix is the high-octane caffeine shot we’ve been waiting for. We’ll be bouncing all the walls for days.
Not that the shenanigans in the driver market haven’t kept us entertained. Much of it has been focused around Kimi Raikkonen and where the Flying Finn will be sitting in 2014. From Red Bull, which isn’t happening, according to Kimi’s manager, to Ferrari, which sounds a bit far-fetched to us, to staying at Lotus, the Iceman’s future is on everyone’s mind. Adding to his four wins at Spa this weekend will only cement his reputation as the hottest free agent on the market.
Raikkonen will also be looking to get the maximum possible points to keep pace with Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, whose finishing record this season is – as it should be as leader – second to none. Seb keeps pulling great results out of the bag while his rivals take points off each other. Lewis Hamilton finally broke his Mercedes duck in Hungary so will be looking to add to that after an intensive period off the track. If the German team has finally got it’s tyre issues sorted, they could be the team to beat in the second half of 2013.
As for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at Red Bull, they have the usual problem of having to run their Red Bulls in as low downforce trim as possible just to be competitive. It’s an annual occurence; Vettel won in Italy in 2011 despite being the slowest in the speedtrap overall – so Saturday will be crucial to their success.
Ferrari will need to bounce back from a lacklustre showing over the past few races, especially with their talisman Fernando Alonso upsetting the apple cart. Again, he was linked with Mark Webber’s soon-to-be-vacant Red Bull seat, forcing a reprimand from his boss and sending the media into a frenzy. What would be the ultimate sign of unity from the Italian marque? A win in Belgium. But with Fernando’s track record here – no wins so far – it might be harder than they think.
Spa is famous for its high speed sections so downforce is minimal, which could benefit teams on smaller budgets or are struggling this year. Force India fall into the former, and have pedigree here over the past few seasons, while McLaren fall into the latter thanks to their mishaps over the course of 2013. These two fighting tooth and nail for 5th place in the constructor’s chase, so it’s all to play for still.
And lastly we look at the Australian contingent of the grid. One, Mark Webber, is continuing his farewell tour at a track where he’s been fast, yet not won. Who can forget his jaw-dropping move on Fernando Alonso at Eau Rouge? We certainly haven’t – there’s still a stain on the carpet where we dropped our cup of tea.
Spare a thought for Daniel Ricciardo too. If you believe everything you read then he’s the red-hot favourite to be promoted to racing alongside Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next season. If that announcement it made, expect his world to change forever.
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