2021 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix Preview

After its summer break Formula 1 returns to action by heading to Spa-Francorchamps for the latest Grand Prix of the 2021 season. It is due to be joined by W Series and Formula 3.

Spa-Francorchamps is set to be the fifth round of W Series 2021 season. Jamie Chadwick will resume the season as the championship leader, although she only has a one point advantage over nearest rival Alice Powell. The two have won the opening four races so far this season, both claiming two race victories each.

Nerea Marti completes the top three in the standings and is 36 points behind Chadwick. Marti’s best finish so far this season has been third place which she achieved in Hungary, the race prior to this weekend. Along with Chadwick and Powell, the Spaniard has also finished inside the points in every race so far in 2021.

Marti has a one point advantage of her own over Sarah Moore who is fourth, the Briton started the season well with a second place finish in the season opener but has since gone on to finish fourth, seventh and fifteenth in the following three rounds.

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In FIA Formula 3 Dennis Hauger enters the race weekend with a 63 point advantage over nearest rival Jack Doohan. The former having finished in the points in all but one of the 12 races contested so far this season. In comparison Doohan has failed to score points in three of the 12 races in 2021.

Completing the top three in the driver standings is Olli Caldwell who is three points behind Doohan heading to Spa-Francorchamps. The Briton has a six point advantage over fourth placed Frederick Vesti. This is after the latter endured a difficult race weekend in Hungary where Vesti was forced into retirement in Race 1, finished outside the points in Race 2 and was classified seventh in Race 3.

Hauger won Race 3 in Hungary with the other two being won by Ayumu Iwasa and Matteo Nannini. The latter two are eleventh and ninth in the championship respectively and are separated by three points. In between Nannini and Iwasa is Caio Collet while four points behind Iwasa are David Schumacher and Logan Sargeant.

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Formula 1 meanwhile will resume with Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship, eight points ahead of title rival Max Verstappen. Red Bull and Verstappen will be looking to bounce back having had less than ideal race weekends in the two Grand Prix prior to this weekend.

Completing the top three in the championship is the McLaren of Lando Norris. He is 74 points behind Verstappen and has a five point advantage over fourth placed Valtteri Bottas. The battle for third however isn’t just between Norris and Bottas with Sergio Perez also involved, the Mexican nine points behind Norris heading into this weekend. The three of them have a reasonably healthy gap to sixth placed Carlos Sainz, the Spaniard being 21 points behind Perez.

A note on Esteban Ocon who won the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Frenchman resumes the season tenth in the championship 11 points behind Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo, while Ocon has a one point gap to teammate, and eleventh placed, Fernando Alonso. Ocon’s previous best result of the 2021 season prior to his victory at the Hungaroring was seventh which he achieved at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Alpine Renault A521 – Esteban Ocon” by Jaimie Wilson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the constructors’ championship Mercedes leads Red Bull by 12 points heading to Spa-Francorchamps. This is due a lot to the results of the respective teams at the British and Hungarian Grand Prix. Excluding the results from the first F1 Sprint trial at Silverstone, Mercedes claimed a 1-3 at the British Grand Prix before finishing second in Hungary. By comparison Red Bull claimed sixteenth and suffered a retirement at Silverstone, before getting ninth and suffering another retirement in Hungary.

There is then a 128 point gap separating the Austrian team from Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren who are tied third in the championship. Like in the drivers’ championship, while the main interest may be on Mercedes and Red Bull battling for the title, the battle between Ferrari and McLaren has swung consistently throughout the season, leaving the two with effectively, at the time of writing, an 11 round season to decide who will finish third.

The two have an 86 point advantage over fifth placed Alpine who overtook previous fifth place incumbent AlphaTauri after the Enstone based team’s 1-4 finish in Hungary. Nine points separate the two entering this weekend with AlphaTauri having a 20 point gap to seventh placed Aston Martin.

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The Silverstone based team and eighth placed Williams are separated by 38 points. The Grove based team claimed a double points finish in Hungary before Formula 1’s summer break. It means Williams have a seven point advantage over ninth placed Alfa Romeo who are their main rivals for the remainder of the season.

Completing the constructors’ championship is Haas who are yet to score a point this season, but only have a three point gap to Alfa Romeo in ninth. The American team’s best finish so far this season was twelfth which was achieved by Mick Schumacher at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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