Grand Prix 2019 Belgian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

If you say the word Spa to most women, the vast majority would probably think of a luxury place where they can get a massage, facial, manicure and pedicure or any number of other beauty treatments. Not me though, for me if you say the word Spa my eyes light up and I think of probably the best race track on the current F1 calendar. This is a track where over the years we've had a lot of exciting races full of thrills a spills. A track which if you ask the drivers to name their favourite circuits, it will most likely be in the top three they come up with. A drivers track, a track with history and a classic that seems to mean more when you finish first. Congratulations you’ve just won Spa!!

Spa has always been a challenge but even in the years I’ve been watching F1 it’s been sanitised to some degree. The Bus Stop when you almost used to stop and indicate to turn off onto a small side road before rejoining the track was always something I enjoyed, that is long since gone. Thankfully Eau Rogue is still something of a challenge but even that is not what it used to be. Most drivers will tell you that it’s still a hell of a corner but often these days they take it flat. Yet think back a few years and most people would look at you like you needed your head testing is you even suggested such a thing.

In 1998 Jacques Villeneuve tried taking Eau Rouge flat and crashed his Williams Mecachrome spectacularly, nothing that remarkable there, a lot of people have done so over the years. It was a pretty heavy crash but he was quickly out of the car and back to the pits again. Did he learn from it though? Did he hell?

Fast forward to 1999 and Jacques is with BAR, his team mate is a young Ricardo Zonta and the two drivers got talking. Apparently they came up with a bet or dare, call it what you will and the fans who watched qualifying that year were in for a sight they wouldn’t forget, I was one of them. As a Jacques Villneueve fan I was on the edge of my seat as he set off, I recalled all too clearly what had happened the year before.

Apparently Villeneuve dared Zonta to take Eau Rouge flat. As I say, these days it seems unremarkable, back then it almost seemed like a death wish. Villeneuve went out first and attempted to take the corner flat, just as he’d said. Much as in 1998 he tried and failed. His crash was worse than 1998, he was heard to comment afterwards ‘at least I rolled it’. His younger and much less experienced team mate then went out. Even after seeing what had happened to Villeneuve, Zonta stuck to his word and he too attempted to take the corner flat, his crash was even worse than Villeneuve’s. I do recall the look of total disbelief on Craig Pollock’s face at what his two drivers had done to his teams' cars. Both drivers thankfully walked away from their wrecked cars and a lesson was learnt, no, you couldn’t take Eau Rouge flat at that time, but it hadn’t stop them trying. You have to wonder why they tried it in the first place, bravado? Stupidity? That need to be on 'the edge' as Jacques himself used to say? The thrill of pushing man and car to the limit? It could be any or a combination of all of these things, I just remember it was both exciting and yet horrifying to watch them try it at the time.

Spa is also subject to the weather effect, catch your pitstop just right as it begins to rain and you’re a hero, miss that pit entry just as the heavens open and the likelihood is your race is ruined, mostly just due to the length of the track as it's the longest on the current calendar. By the time you've tiptoed all that way back around to the pits again, it's probably too late to save your race. That is part of the joy and agony of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit and what makes it still one of the races in the season that I, and most likely a lot of you, most look forward to, probably a lot of the drivers do too. It always offers up the chance of a brilliant race and thankfully it still sometimes produces one too.

Last year your pole sitter was Hamilton and the podium was as follows. 1st Vettel, 2nd Hamilton, 3rd Verstappen.
Who will be there this year? Would anyone bet against a Mercedes winning the race? Earlier in the season I'd have said no, but with Max Verstappen driving his socks off in a resurgent Red Bull, plus hopefully a threat from either of the Ferrari drivers, it's far from a foregone conclusion. That is just how we like it

Edited to add the banner, we used to have a banner at for each race, I thought I'd add one of them to this thread and then I forgot to do it, until now ;)

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He's Helmut favourite son at the moment Max so he will get protection. Main think Alex has to do is to avoid crashing into Max and show he can stay with him ...not getting lapped is a good start
Not crashing in quali will be a good start. I have high hopes for Albon and Max as team-mates – beating Ferrari would be legendary, quite literally.
Literally? Well Legend translates as a fable not based in fact so maybe not literally. I agree it would be a great achievement though.
One of the characteristics of a legend is that it is fictional though - would it resemble that? ;)

(Sorry this is an over reaction due to people in my office consistently using the word litterally wrongly. You didn't 'litterally just die' friend or you would not be here to bore me with stories of you night out with your tinder date)
Are all legends fictional? Anyway I hear that all the time too and It bugs me man! I get it. Peace, literally.
interesting news, somethings leaked that Norris is injured his foot in the summer break & could be a doubt, but McLaren have replied that the protective boot is just a precautionary measure. so we might be see sirotkin "debut" in a competive machinery

this could go on so many threads. this, indycar, Alfa, McLaren, 2020 season . but this best comprise. seems ericsson 2020 might be sorted & mclaren indycar deal kicks him out of indycar after 1 year
I would be very interested to see how Ericsson shapes up in a proper midfield car. While he is much maligned he has always been a sprinkle of quick and a big dollop of bad luck. He was really starting to overcome the latter at the end of last year. Would be interesting to see how he compares to Giovanazzi and Kimi.
I read that Ericsson is only in Spa because Kimi injured his leg and wasn't sure he'd be fit to race. Ericsson is their reserve driver.

I also read that Albon is going to start the race at the back of the grid due to engine related penalties. I'm so glad I bet on him in the You Bet game :(
albon starting at the back could be interesting as if Albon comes from the back to finish 6th then it nail in gasly coffin because it was something he couldn't do in Australia for example. that they took for granted with riccardio within 20 laps

crofty has made me feel old, saying its 10yrs ago to the day that fisichella took pole in the force india
a lot of issues for Hamilton in FP1, had to trundle back to the pits then went out a 2nd time appartantly came in back smoking (I was on radio for 10mins) then 3rd time only managed 5th 1.3 secs off the ferraris

also anything to look into gasly 3 tenths of Kyvat
Yeah it looks like Albon is on it from what I saw, he was within 0.07 of Max when I last saw the timings. That is very impressive for his first time out in that car I'd say.
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