Photo courtesy of Formula 1
The 2022 Formula 1 season is set to resume after a four-week long break as Race 14 of the 22-race season will take place at Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps in Francorchamps, Belgium.
Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps was the sight of one of the most bizarre Formula 1 races in history. Heavy rain perpetually hit the track last season, rendering it unsuitable for racing in the eyes of the FIA. In order to get something out of the weekend, the grid ran two laps under a safety car. By doing so, drivers were awarded half points.
Red Bull Racing’s then-No. 33 driver Max Verstappen took home the win thanks to him starting on the pole and never having his lead contested. Then-Williams Racing No. 63 driver George Russell got his first career F1 podium thanks to his qualifying performance.
The threat of rain reared its head during the weekend of practice and qualifying, but conditions for Sunday’s main event look like they will allow a full race at the fast-paced 7.004-kilometer track.
Many teams opted to change power units for a track that is known for its passing capabilities, but they will come at the expense of positions on the starting grid.
Verstappen looked like the clear favorite after putting down the fastest qualifying time of 1:44:581, nearly half a second quicker than the next fastest driver, Ferrari No. 55 driver Carlos Sainz, who had a 1:45:050 lap time.
Sainz expressed concern with the wide margin, but he and his team will have some time to figure out where to find more speed from pole as Verstappen and a handful of other drivers will have new internal combustion engines, turbochargers and MGU-Hs, meaning they will sustain a grid penalty and start from the back.
Finishes P2, starts from pole
Carlos Sainz will start Sunday's race from the front of the grid 👏#BelgianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/zerCGecx01
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 27, 2022
Ferrari No. 16 driver Charles Leclerc, McLaren No. 4 driver Lando Norris, Alpine No. 31 driver Estaban Ocon, Haas No. 47 Mick Schumacher, Alfa Romeo No. 77 Valtteri Bottas and Alfa Romeo No. 24 driver Zhou Guanyu will join Verstappen in taking on grid penalties for various changes to power units and other pieces of equipment.
Verstappen has been able to come back from behind recently. In the last race, the Hungarian Grand Prix, Verstappen came back to win his eighth race of the season from a P10 starting position.
Verstappen will have to work a little harder to get to the front this time, starting 15th. His championship rival, Leclerc, will start right behind him in 16th. Verstappen holds an 80-point lead to Leclerc in the 2022 Driver Standings with nine races left in the season. Given Verstappen’s speed all weekend, he will have a strong shot to extend his wide margin.
The mixed-up starting grid allowed for some surprise names to start near the front. Williams Racing No. 23 Alex Albon will start sixth after making it to Q3 for the first time this season.
Alex Albon gets into Q3 for the first time this year 👏
Listen to what it meant 😃#BelgianGP @WilliamsRacing pic.twitter.com/RUs3sZ94co
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 27, 2022
On the flip side, Bottas, who is known for his qualifying skill, missed Q2 for the first time since Monaco 2015, 148 races ago.
The 2022 Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps will be 44 laps across the 7.004-kilometer track, totaling in over 308 kilometers and over 191 miles of intense F1 speeds, as long as conditions remain stable. The race will begin at 9:00 p.m. EST and can be watched on ESPN2 for those in the United States.
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