The next triple header and seventh round of the revised 2020 Formula One World Championship begins this weekend at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, home of the Belgian Grand Prix.
The famous circuit in the beautiful Ardennes features a long, unrelenting track that serves as a stern test for car and driver, and with an average speed approaching 145 mph, it’s one of the fastest laps of the season. How tough is it? Drivers experience over 5 g in some of the turns, such as Turn 10, known as Pouhon. The cars are also running at full throttle for almost 80% of the lap.
Stretching 4.35 miles, Spa has the longest track on the calendar. In fact, it’s so big that it’s not unusual to have varying weather conditions at different parts. For example, rain at one end and sunshine at the other. Fortunately the weather outlook calls for mostly fine conditions throughout the weekend, though there’s the chance of light rain during Sunday’s race.
Spa-Francorchamps, home of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix
Spa’s track surface is on the abrasive side, meaning tires get quite the workout. Pirelli has nominated its C2, C3 and C4 compounds for the weekend, a softer nomination compared to last year. This is because most teams chose the softer compounds last year, according to Pirelli.
After early practice on Friday, Mercedes-AMG’s Valtteri Bottas was fastest, followed closely by teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Going into tomorrow’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race, Hamilton leads the 2020 Drivers’ Championship with 132 points. Verstappen is second with 95 points and Bottas is third with 89 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 221 points versus the 135 of Red Bull and 63 of Racing Point. Last year’s winner at Spa was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who enjoyed his maiden victory at the legendary circuit.