Belgian GP: 5 big questions that need answers this weekend

The Belgian Grand Prix weekend is here, with F1’s summer break now in the rear-view mirror and the final charge towards the end of the season firmly on the horizon.

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is a hugely popular venue with both fans and drivers and we’ll hopefully get a classic race, and certainly one that banishes the spectre of 2021’s ‘non-race’ for good.

Again this weekend here in Spa, we’ve had typically changeable conditions and cool temperatures and so that, as ever, brings a challenge to the drivers alongside the immense sections of track like Eau Rouge-Raidillon and Blanchimont.

What are the big questions that need answers this weekend at Spa, then? We take a look…

Can Mercedes challenge for victory?

Lewis Hamilton has said that Mercedes are ‘a long way off‘ of the pace at the moment as we head into Saturday at Spa but they’ve shown they can improve quickly over a weekend and their race pace has been very good.

Indeed, Hamilton was very strong in Hungary last time out before the summer and with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc set to start near the back of the grid thanks to penalties relating to engine component changes, a good chance has presented itself to the Silver Arrows.

Where will Max and Charles finish?

Both Verstappen and Leclerc need to put in recovery drives this weekend, and it’ll be interesting to see how they approach their respective surges through the field.

Leclerc is 80 points behind Verstappen and so has everything to gain but also knows an incident when carving through will dent his rather crumpled championship hopes even further, whilst Max knows he will score decent points as long as he keeps his nose clean as the car is quick.

Who’ll benefit from the cool conditions?

It’s touching 20 degrees Celcius here at Spa and you’re not going to get much higher than that this weekend, with conditions typical for this famous old venue – cloudy, some rain in the air and very un-summer like.

It remains to be seen just who gets the best of those conditions, then, with Lance Stroll going strong in practice on Friday and Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon showing good pace in their Williams cars.

SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 26: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR22 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 26, 2022 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

What can Daniel Ricciardo do?

The big news at the start of the Grand Prix weekend was that Daniel Ricciardo will be leaving McLaren at the end of the year and it’ll be interesting to see how that impacts his driving.

Now the speculation is over, maybe he’ll be freer in his mind to get some positive results – though obviously there are other key factors towards performance as well.

Either way, he’ll want to try and end his time at McLaren on a high.

Who starts the run-in on form?

We’ve got nine races left of the 2022 season and with a triple-header welcoming us back from the summer break, momentum is going to be key.

Can Ferrari reel in Red Bull? Can Mercedes reel in Ferrari? Who will take P4 in the Constructors’ – Alpine, McLaren or someone else? All of the questions will get closer to answers week by week now, as we begin the final charge to Abu Dhabi.

Carlos Sainz is the current favourite to win the Belgian Grand Prix, check out all of Betway’s F1 markets here ahead of lights out in Spa!

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