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Drivers and teams would’ve enjoyed a well-earned rest during the mid-season break, but it is time to get the 2021 Formula One world championship back underway at none other than the iconic Spa-Francorchamps.
Join The Roar for live race updates and commentary from 10:50pm (AEST).
The 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix is a favourite, boasting lush forests, its own micro-climate and a challenging seven kilometre road course that scythes through said greenery. Spectacular undulation peaks at the famous Eau-Rouge and Radillon.
Its micro-climate will be studied intensely ahead of the race, with wet weather set to play its hand again as with the previous race in Hungary. Rain at Spa in the past has produced many memorable moment in Formula One, so could 2021 do the same?
Eight points is the margin at the top of the standings between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, after two races in which the Dutchman conceded the lead – through no fault of his own.
Mercedes have also retaken the lead of the constructor’s standings by 12 points over Red Bull, despite the energy drinks giant having had the measure of the Silver Arrows in terms of performance.
Wet weather was navigated through qualifying and it was Verstappen who triumphed for pole position ahead of a shock performance from George Russell in the Williams. Hamilton missed out on the front-row by a tenth of a second in the treacherous conditions.
Conditions which caught out McLaren’s Lando Norris, who in Q3 suffered a mighty shunt at Raidillon. Thankfully the Briton walked away and will start the race in ninth – if able to, due to Valtteri Bottas’ penalty from Hungary.
Key grid positions also for Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, who earn their best qualifying results respectively for 2021, as the McLaren and Aston Martin head up fourth and fifth position. Given the naturally slower Williams ahead, a podium is up for grabs for the former Red Bull teammates.
As for the championship battle, Verstappen has a clear view to La Source and will hope he can get there untouched. Can the Dutchman earn a redemptive result for the last couple of races and put the pressure back on Mercedes?
Formula One is back and this title fight looks set to continue, so be sure to tune in on The Roar from 10:50pm (AEST) for a live blog of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Lights out: 11pm (AEST)
Venue: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 2. George Russell (Williams), 3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 4. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), 5. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), 6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 7. Sergio Perez (Red Bull), 8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 9. Lando Norris (McLaren), 10. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 11. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 12. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 13. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)*, 14. Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 15. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 16. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), 17. Mick Schumacher (Haas), 18. Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), 19. Nikita Mazepin (Haas), 20. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)*