Where more modern venues get huge, tarred run-off areas which offer drivers a bit of insurance in off-track excursions, Spa Francorchamps instead gets walls and gravel traps in close proximity to its undulating racing surface.
And, the Belgian Grand Prix’s famous complex of high speed corners known as Eau Rouge is expected to be even more daunting this year, given new aerodynamics rules on the cars. This quick left, right, left uphill section has been taken flat-out in recent years, but some drivers are expecting requisite throttle lifts now that current cars have less downforce.
It will also be interesting to see if Ferrari can carry the momentum of its Hungaroring win across the month-long break, and challenge runaway points leaders Mercedes on Sunday.
Mercedes, which leads the Constructors’ Championship with 383 points to Ferrari’s 236, suffered an unusually bad round in Hungary with sixth and eighth places, but will look to put things right at Spa. Williams sits a distance third with 151 points.
HOW THEY RANK SO FAR:
The season’s mid-term results see Lewis Hamilton leading the Drivers’ Championship with 202 points to his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg’s 181. Lewis has so far enjoyed five wins to Nico’s three, and though it looked like Rosberg was reeling in the reigning champ with a string of strong results following the fifth round in Spain, it seems Hamilton still has the crucial tenths in hand over his team-mate when he needs it. Rosberg is still the stronger starter though, and even if Lewis manages his tenth pole position of the year, Nico might be able to again pull one over off the grid - just as he has in recent races.
Sebastian Vettel finds himself in a lonely third with 160 points, but has proven twice this year that he and his Ferrari are capable of winning. He’s also the most regular visitor to the podium after the dominant Merc duo. Vettel, Rosberg and Hamilton are the only drivers to have scored points in all of the 11 races so far this season.
Red Bull will hope its early season engine woes are behind it and replicate the feat of both drivers, Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, making the podium as they did in Hungary.
Leapfrogging Williams into third might be wishful thinking with 55 points between them, but the goal is not impossible. Williams can credit consistency for its third place standing, but with both of its drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, failing to score points at Hungaroring, it needs to watch its back.
Original source: Belgium's Eau Rouge lays in wait