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Old 25 Aug 2017, 07:45 (Ref:3761468)   #1
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Belgian Grand Prix 2017: Grand Prix Weekend Thread

‘Spa’, as it is commonly shortened to, despite being much closer to the town of Francorchamps, is set in the Ardennes Forest and its first Grand Prix was held in 1924. Until 1970, it was run on a fearsome, much longer incarnation of the circuit (14.9km at its maximum length) than the contemporary one, which at 7km, is still the longest. It used to consist of many fast public roads which stretched down to the villages of Malmedy and Stavelot before eventually rejoining what we have today and had monster fast straights. The notorious Masta Kink straddled two straights between Malmedy and Stavelot.

In 2017, Spa still features many glorious corners which follow the natural order of the land. It is a track that delights in having Formula 1 cars driven on it. Because of the topography, the majority of the corners just feel right, like that is the way the track is supposed to go. It doesn’t feel designed by anyone but by Spa-Francorchamps itself. This sense of a natural track is compounded by the forces of nature. The element of the weather can add a total twist in the ark of the race by means of rain showers which come out of the blue. The microclimate of this part of the Ardennes means that one moment it is sunny and the next, ominous clouds have swept in and they are pouring, sometimes in only one area. A vital decision to pit or to not pit on a seven-kilometre layout can turn a race here on its head.

Turns here are not merely numbers, but have names, evocative ones too, such that they call to mind images of the cars and drivers taking on the challenge.

Turn 1 is La Source. A tricky hairpin, it opens quite wide on the exit and allows for plenty of jostling on the opening lap (and DRS Detection Zone 1 on later ones) as the drivers set themselves up for Turns 2 to 4, the Eau-Rouge – Raidillon combination. Eau Rouge is actually the brief left at the bottom of the hill before the slight right, Raidillon, which climbs to the top and goes further than the eye can see from when you are entering the curve. There is a left as the drivers go over the brow and try to tame the car, gently balancing out any danger and keeping forward motion for the Kemmel Straight. These corners are spectacular to watch in person, where the steepness becomes apparent in a way that is not always the case on television.

The Kemmel Straight is the longest one and features DRS Activation Zone 1. It leads drivers to the magnificent right-left-right Les Combes complex (Turns 5 to 7). Whilst Eau Rouge and Raidillon are a pure thrill, it is these corners that begin to remind you that much of the joy of this track is in just how good the more conventional corners are. It’s a right-left chicane followed by ninety-right with a less angled entry and looks superb to drive. This is where the drivers will really be starting to enjoy the flow. Overtaking opportunities also abound into Turn 5.

The drivers plunge downhill into Bruxelles, which is Turn 8. Perhaps because of the relatively short distance between Les Combes and Bruxelles, it somehow invites drivers to dare to brake late, but it’s a risky thing, easy to put a wheel off and in any event, not so easy to gather traction on the exit.

A quick left takes the drivers 90 degrees through Turn 9 before they approach Pouhon (Turns 10 and 11). A relentless left-hander, this is many drivers’ favourite section. Whereas Raidillon is easier to take flat than it once was, Pouhon is more of a case of fine throttle feathering, a lift usually necessary. The track is so fun by this point that it is difficult for drivers to want to remove any speed, instead seeking to be really fast and ready to barrel through Turn 12 and then slow it down a bit more for 13, Campus.

Turn 14 is Stavelot, a right-hander which sets up the drivers for 15, The Courbe Paul-Frère. It’s crucial to carry as much as speed as possible through here, because they’re now not braking again until the final corners. The left-hand sweeper of Blanchimont (Turn 16) is followed by a slightly tighter one at 17.

Hard braking is called for into the right-left Bus Stop Chicane (Turns 18 and 19), just before which there is the second DRS Detection Zone (activation is on the start-finish straight). It is easy to fumble it through here.

Of the 2017 field, freshly re-signed Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen has the best winning record here with four victories (one fifth of his total number of wins; only Schumacher and Senna have won more here). Räikkönen's team-mate Vettel and Vettel's main championship contender Lewis Hamilton have taken the spoils twice and of the other drivers, Massa and Ricciardo have both won once.

It was Massa who took the win after the rather controversial finish to the 2008 race, which staged an epic tussle between Hamilton and Räikkönen when the rain began to fall. The race had not been particularly exciting until that point, but their scrap for victory was enthralling. Lewis was given a post-race penalty which dropped him down the order when after having been edged to the limit of the track at the Bus Stop, he drove over the run-off on the inside and passed Kimi before immediately ceding the place. Because he then passed again into La Source, he was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage in his pass (having gained in the Bus Stop).

1998 was also a hugely rain-affected race, a deluge and soaked track causing an enormous pile-up out of La Source which eliminated many cars and caused a red flag. Michael Schumacher was dominating the re-started race when he drove into the back of David Coulthard, who had slowed but stayed on-line to let him lap him. Damon Hill took his final win and Jordan’s first, with a one-two, Michael Schumacher’s brother Ralf following him home and Jean Alesi completing the podium for Sauber.

Another relatively recent piece of drama was 2000, when Hakkinen, angered by Schumacher’s blocking in 2000, bided his time and used the lapped car of Ricardo Zonta on the Kemmel Straight in the middle of the track to send one down the inside of Schumacher forcing the Ferrari to go to the left while sandwiching the BAR.

Last year, eventual world champion Nico Rosberg took the spoils, with Ricciardo second and Hamilton third.

This year, Pirelli are bringing the ultrasoft, supersoft and soft tyres (in 2016, it was supersoft, soft and medium), which has thrown up a tricky choice for the teams. We saw at Silverstone, also a circuit with high loadings and fast bends, that teams could run into tyre failures. There is a big discrepancy between the aggression of Red Bull, who are taking far more sets of ultrasofts and fewer of the other compounds than Ferrari and Mercedes. Perhaps these teams will need to be more circumspect; however, there is also the chance that the ultrasoft won't give such a speed advantage as might be expected. Daniel Ricciardo has shown himself to be capable of looking after a set of tyres. With these different approaches, we may see an unpredictable battle come race day. There is also, of course, the chance of rain. See the teams' tyre selections below.

On paper, Spa should suit the long-wheelbase Mercedes, although if it was decided on paper, we wouldn't have Grand Prix racing.

To join in our Predictions Contest, go here: http://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=151567

Our Fantasy F1 competition is here: http://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=149774

Constructors’ championship standings: https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2017/team.html

Drivers’ championship standings: https://www.formula1.com/en/results....7/drivers.html

Belgian Grand Prix tyre selections:
http://www.fia.com/news/f1-tyre-choi...ian-grand-prix

Circuit length: 7.004km
Number of laps: 44
Race distance: 308.052km
Dry weather tyre compounds: Ultrasoft, Supersoft and Soft

DRS Detection Zone 1: between Turn 1 and Turn 2 (La Source and Eau Rouge)
DRS Activation Zone 1: between Turn 4 and Turn 5 (on the Kemmel Straight before Les Combes)
DRS Detection Zone 2: just before Turn 18 (Bus Stop Chicane)
DRS Activation Zone 2: Start-finish straight
Speed Trap: Just after Turn 4 (Raidillon)

Lap Record: 1:47.263 (2009 – Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault)
First Grand Prix: 1925
First World Championship Grand Prix: 1950
First Grand Prix on current layout: 1983
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Old 25 Aug 2017, 09:00 (Ref:3761477)   #2
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S griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
I love the fact that the race is a better place to be than a good number of other circuits
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Old 25 Aug 2017, 13:33 (Ref:3761523)   #3
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Great intro as ever.

Looking forward to seeing how the Hamilton v Vettel story unfolds, after the summer hiatus. Also, it will be interesting to see if RBR can translate their improvements into wins.
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Old 25 Aug 2017, 13:48 (Ref:3761525)   #4
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S griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
I love the fact that the master of the Belgian circuit is fastest in the first session of the weekend and the only one that is the problem is that the team is not going to be focused on him

I just want to wish the best for the people at Williams in getting the car right for Felipe. I love the fact that Guy Martin is helping the team
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Old 25 Aug 2017, 13:51 (Ref:3761527)   #5
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djinvicta should be qualifying in the top 3 on the griddjinvicta should be qualifying in the top 3 on the griddjinvicta should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Cheers BR, as usual great intro..
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Old 25 Aug 2017, 15:43 (Ref:3761539)   #6
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On paper, Spa should suit the long-wheelbase Mercedes, although if it was decided on paper, we wouldn't have Grand Prix racing.
love that line! great intro

Massa crash in FP1...didnt realize there was a specific rule preventing further running on the same day a chassis change is required.

i understand the reasoning and imagine the time constraint would mean that there would almost always be a lack of time to be ready for FP2 but seems odd that a specific rule needs to be written for this. regardless, rule or no rule it makes sense to take your time and have the car ready for saturday's sessions.

and i guess Massa has saved himself an extra few sets of tires which may be more valuable come race day.

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/m...sh-spa-944495/

Under FIA rules, a driver cannot run again on the same day if a chassis change is required, as it the car to be re-scrutineered.

The rules state: "Any car that has a change of survival cell after being passed by the scrutineers must be re-presented for scrutineering approval.

"Any such re-scrutineering may only take place with the consent of the stewards (following a written request from a competitor) and will be carried out the next morning."
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Old 25 Aug 2017, 17:46 (Ref:3761557)   #7
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justracing should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridjustracing should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
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Cheers BR, as usual great intro..
Echo that sentiment, really comprehensive intro. Lucky enough to have beeb there twice albeit in the rain on both occasions!
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Old 25 Aug 2017, 19:07 (Ref:3761569)   #8
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Super intro!
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Old 25 Aug 2017, 19:21 (Ref:3761575)   #9
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Ferrari's race poster.



i am assuming that the hats and apples are a reference to René Magritte's Son of Man painting? anyways i really like this one
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 02:20 (Ref:3761633)   #10
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Another epic introduction Born Racer. must appreciated.

I really like Spa, the big elevation changes and challenging corners make it special, hope we have a good race.
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 04:28 (Ref:3761659)   #11
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Tourer should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTourer should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTourer should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTourer should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Great intro as ever BR - thank you!

Watching Spa from here on the other side of the world reminds me how good it is to be there in person, totally agree with your summation on Eau Rouge/Raidillon that seeing it in person is way better than on TV. We get this one live though so the TV will have to do.

Looking forward to seeing how they all pull up after the Summer break.
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 06:28 (Ref:3761665)   #12
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RWill2073 should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRWill2073 should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRWill2073 should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRWill2073 should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Track looks immaculate. As visually stunning as any in the world.

Did nbcsn drop Leigh diffey, or is he just out this race for some reason?
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 08:22 (Ref:3761670)   #13
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S griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridS griffin should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Looks like Magnussen has been a bit naughty again, Checo has shown his outrage, it was something that could have been avoided
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 09:32 (Ref:3761679)   #14
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Looks like Magnussen has been a bit naughty again, Checo has shown his outrage, it was something that could have been avoided
Magnussen replied to Perez with 'Chupa mis bolas'.
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 14:21 (Ref:3761704)   #15
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Magnussen replied to Perez with 'Chupa mis bolas'.
Chips with everything.....?
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