Things to know ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Belgium, Circuit de Spa-Francorchampsbe

As Formula One finally returned to action at Spa Francorchamps after the long summer break, Ferrari did not hesitate to secure a second front row lock-out after it achieved similar success at the Bahrain Grand Prix. However, Mercedes are eagerly waiting for the race after its superior showing during Friday's long runs.

Rich history – The most noteworthy fact about the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix is that it will be held for the 64th time today. The race was part of the original calendar in 1950, but was absent from it in 1957, 1959, 1969, 1971, 2003 and 2006. Of the 63 Belgian Grands Prix, Spa played host to 51 races while Zolder and Nivelles have also played hosting roles.

Not the most important – Pole position has not proved the most important over the years at Spa. 18 of 51 races have been won from pole. Michael Schumacher holds the record for winning from the furthest back, starting from 16th in 1995.

Schumacher and Senna – Although Kimi Räikkönen is usually referred to as the king of Spa, Michael Schumacher is the most successful Belgian Grand Prix driver with six wins. The German is followed by Ayrton Senna who claimed five victories. The fans’ favourite Finn has actually won on four occasions. The current field contains three other Spa winners: Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have both won three times while Daniel Ricciardo was victorious in 2014 for Red Bull Renault.

The Italians – Ferrari is the most successful constructor in Belgium with 17 triumphs. McLaren is second on this list with 14 wins followed by Lotus with eight wins. Mercedes and Williams have both claimed victories four times. Red Bull is also among the elite group of the most successful constructors with three wins while the duo of Alfa Romeo and Benetteon have won twice.

Changes – The Spa Francorchamps track has undergone several modifications over the years. The original 14.9km circuit had been reduced to 14.1km by 1950 when Formula One had first visited the venue. By 1983, the length of the circuit had been cut down to 6.968km. Minor changes have been constantly made to the track after that, but 2007 saw the track undergoing the last significant changes to date. The original Bus Stop chicane was removed and the overall length increased to its current 7.004km.

The fast Finn – Valtteri Bottas holds the record for the fastest race lap at Spa. The Finn has recorded a lap time of 1m46.286 during last year’s event which became not only the fastest lap of the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix, but the overall best race lap time to date.

The hardest ones– The sport’s sole tyre manufacturer Pirelli brought their three hardest tyre compounds to Spa to cope with the high demands of the circuits featuring enormous lateral forces and level of tyre stress.

0.124km – That is the difference between the start and the finish line.

The longest – Spa is the longest race track on the current calendar. Drivers have to cover 44 laps on the 7.004km track to complete the entire race distance of 308.052km.

DRS – Although Spa features long straights and high-speed sections offering overtaking opportunities, there are two DRS zones at the Belgian Grand Prix. The detection point for the first is located 240m before Turn 2, with the activation point 230m after Turn 4. The second zone has a detection point 160m before Turn 18 and an activation point 30m after Turn 19.

Starting grid

116Charles LeclercFerrari1:42.519
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1:43.267
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:43.282
477Valtteri BottasMercedes1:43.415
533Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:43.690
67Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:44.557
711Sergio PerezRacing Point Bwt Mercedes1:44.706
820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:45.086
98Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:44.797
103Daniel RicciardoRenault1:44.257
114Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault1:44.847
1227Nico HulkenbergRenault1:44.542
1310Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:46.435
1463George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:47.548
1555Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault1:46.507
1618Lance StrollRacing Point Bwt Mercedes1:45.047
1723Alexander AlbonRed Bull Racing Honda1:45.799
1899Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari-
1926Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:46.518
-88Robert KubicaWilliams Mercedes-

Note - Stroll, Albon and Kvyat required to start from back of grid due to multiple power unit element changes.
Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Sainz each dropped five places for use of additional power unit elements.
Kvyat also penalised five places for an unscheduled gearbox change.
Kubica races at stewards' discretion after failing to set a qualifying time.
Kubica required to start from pitlane as team modified car under Parc Fermé conditions