Along with Monaco, Monza and Silverstone, this is another of the great classics on the Formula 1 calendar. There have been 63 Belgian Grands Prix since 1950, the first year of the World Championship: 2 were held at Nivelles, 10 at Zolder and 51 at one of the very best tracks in the world, Spa-Francorchamps.
To win at Spa is to become a legend of the sport. Back in 1950 the track was 14 kilometres long, while today it’s around half that distance, but it is still the longest one on the F1 World Championship calendar.
In 2017, no fewer than 265,000 spectators turned up. Given it’s geographical location in the centre of Europe, many people drive to the Belgian Grand Prix, which is very handy.
It means one can ignore the maximum luggage rules relating to air travel and so one can bring one’s entire wardrobe to Spa. From sun tan cream to a Sou’wester raincoat you could need it all. Truth is, everyone is actually disappointed if it does not rain over the race weekend, so intrinsic is a damp track to the character of this event.
Whatever the weather, the Belgian F1 Grand Prix is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the year because the road circuit, even though much shorter than it’s original format, is still the greatest challenge known to a man in a motor car, with only Suzuka running it close in the excitement stakes.
No other circuit provides such a variety of mainly high speed corners, camber changes and of course the rollercoaster ride that is the section from La Source hairpin after the start to the top of the Radillon after the now flat-out Eau Rouge kink. At just over 7 kilometres, it’s a long way to walk but doing so and then imagining completing a lap at an average speed of over 230 km/h, gives you a clearer understanding of what makes a Formula 1 driver tick.
The 2018 Belgian GP saw Sebastian Vettel stand on the top step of the podium, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
After today’s FP3 and Qualifying, these are our drivers and team’s reactions:
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