Grand Prix 2015 Belgian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

So the second half of the F1 season will start with the epic race through the Ardennes forest that is Spa-Francorchamps. The track has more iconic corners and sections than most of the rest of the F1 tracks have put together. What would a modern F1 season be without a race here? Well I guess it would be 2003 or 2006 but lets forget those and say how F1 would not be F1 without a race here. The teams certainly enjoy it and after they've all be sunning themselves on beaches for the last month (apart from Ferrari of course who have secretly been developing parts with Haas in America....allegedly) so they will be raring to go. No one will want it to come round quicker that Mercedes who had a bit of a nightmare in Hungary. Both their drivers have a reputation of losing heart after a bad result and dropping form so they'll be hoping that things run smoothly in the first part of the weekend and they start to get back in the control position they have sat in for most of the season. With Ferrari winning the race on pure pace last time out though both the team and drivers will be forgiven for looking curiously over their shoulder. Is it possible that Ferrari could mount a second half of the season championship challenge? Vettel certainly seems to have got a sniff of it.

Away from the front pair with have a Red Bull team who will probably be depressed as hell that their form of double podium last time out will sink into nothingness as their engine power lets them down and dumps them back into the pack. Whilst they've had a lot of stick off everyone for how they keep complaining about the Renault engines after seeing how good their chassie was at a track that doesn't require as much engine grunt you start to see their point. Wherever they are in the field Danii Kvyat will hope he continues to take little chunks out of Ricciardo's points lead on him. The young Russian will be on a high after his first podium and he showed in GP3 days he's pretty good round Spa. That's not to say Ricciardo isn't on form though, he had a great race last time out, but he really needs to work on those starts. In the Red Bull B team the fight between Sainz and Verstappen will continue. Verstappen has the points upper hand after his 4th in Hungary but Sainz has usually come out on top on this one.

Will the McLaren revival be dead on arrival? Great results in Hungary but I can't see the Honda engine doing too well on the long straights of Spa and Monza. However both have been known to have a high attrition rate through crashes so maybe if the McLaren keeps it clean and tidy they'll continue to pick up points. That means from a McLaren point of view they have to hope Pastor Maldonado carries on as he has been doing for the Enstone team. 4 penalties in one race I think is a record for F1 and surely we are approaching a 1 race ban for Crashtor. It can't be doing Enstone any favours in the cash department either especially as they are supposed to be broke. They at least have Grosjean quietly doing a good job though. Williams should be on strong form at Spa but you never really sure which Williams you're going to get on race day. I'm sure they'll make it their priority to not get involved in a race with the Mercs but whether they can mix it up with the Ferrari's is anyones guess. One man who will probably be mixing it up in the top 10 as long as his car holds together is Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg seems to have re-discovered his appetite for F1 after his Le Mans win. The other curve ball into the F1 mix at Spa might be Manor. The decision still hasn't been made on whether they will run their 2015 car with the 2015 Ferrari engine. If they decide to it could bump them up the field a bit and make everyone have to be on their toes in Q1.

I hope the run of good races F1 has will continue with this one but once again I can't see past a Hamilton pole and cruise to victory. Mind you I said that at Hungary.
Pro tip from NBCSN presenter David Hobbs-

"It can be raining on one side of the circuit, and be dry on the other."
Out of those 28 races listed only 9 of them have been won by the driver that became the world champion that season. I bet thats a pretty low ratio compared to other tracks*

*please be aware actual maths has not been done as I can't be bothered - seems low though.
It's a pretty low phase of the season for the eventual World Champions for some reason. Budapest, Spa and Monza all have pretty poor records of producing World Champions. (Monza on three from the last four admittedly, but about 2 from 20 before that.)
For a change I'm looking forward to this race, believe Williams & Ferrari may see an opportunity with Mercedes lack of clinical operating approach of late.

The start should be interesting, hands up who reckons it'll be Maldonardo's car that sees smoke from the wheels at the start as he spins the wheels.

Do hope Mclaren get to use the grunt of the Honda on Kemmel & through Blanchimont for the race.

Fingers crossed that Manor get to use their 2015 car at last.
Looking forward to seeing exactly how many of them can find a biting point (Lewis Hamilton fears starts will be made even worse by F1 rule change) on the clutch when the red lights go out.

Upon that, may depend, the outcome of the whole race - maybe some will actually be better without the computer-geek input?

As an aside, I have calculated that I have driven 5 different cars (engines ranging from 1.2 to 4.0 litres and all manual gearboxes) this year, other than the one I own, and managed not to stall any of them, even on hill starts. Easy when you know how!
As an aside, I have calculated that I have driven 5 different cars (engines ranging from 1.2 to 4.0 litres and all manual gearboxes) this year, other than the one I own, and managed not to stall any of them, even on hill starts. Easy when you know how!

I don't think the worry is stalling. I think the worry is not getting off the line quickly. Did you manage to get a lightning start away every time in all 5 cars?

To be honest though this start thing is yet another FIA red herring. The script goes like this:

"Jean Todt: There appears to be one team dominating the sport and people are saying its dull!

Bernie: We better make a dramatic headline grabbing rule change then

Jean Todt: But the teams will complain!

Bernie: Well just announce it as a change but then gradually back track in small chunks so it really makes no difference but it sounds like you're making a different

Jean Todt: Brilliant! Shall I do it straight away?

Bernie: No just announce you're doing it say....Silverstone time but have it come in after the summer break.That way people will still be talking about F1 during the break and all tune in to see what difference the new ruling will make

Jean Todt: and then they'll talk about it even more when it makes no difference whatsoever

Bernie: Heh yeah! Dance monkies Dance."

Wasn't it telling drivers what to do on the radio last year? and the tyres the year before?
RasputinLives Why would I want a lightning start, I wasn't in a ****ing race.

Whereas these guys are, and some of their starts recently would be the equivalent of a doddery old 40+ year-old (that's as much as I'm admitting to) stalling on a hill start...... and in a car that is made to ****ing measure, with 40 techies helping them.:givemestrength:

Included in my 5, was a 15 year old Vauxhall Astra estate owned by my father-in-law who spent all his working life driving/selling trucks and still, mostly, pulls away in 2nd - so the clutch was hardly perfect in that one!

If this change is for real, and was Bernie's idea then he gets my vote for lifetime President .... oh wait, he's that already! :snigger:
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But I seem to remember everyone saying how it was going to close the racing up at the time and FIA doing it as a response to fan outcry in that "we have to be seen to be doing something" way of theirs.
All, iirc, because they took the wrong tyre to Silverstone and had otherwise suffered "random" failures. About half of which were Felipe Massa.
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