Belgian Grand Prix 2022 Preview
It might feel like it’s been a year since the last F1 race in 2022, but in reality, it’s only been a month!
Everyone deserved a well-earned break since the last race in Hungary, but while the F1 leaders like Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have no doubt been relaxing on a beach somewhere, other drivers have been active.
Apart from Sebastian Vettel’s announced retirement, there’s also the news that Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren will part ways at the end of this season. The talented Aussie driver hasn’t secured a ride just yet and hasn’t ruled out a break from the sport if nothing arises.
Plus, there’s an update that former champion, Fernando Alonso, will be leaving Alpine for Aston Martin next season, now that there’s a space vacant with Vettel’s departure from F1.
There are a lot of good beers and chocolate to enjoy in Belgium, but which driver will have his fair share when the race is over? We’ll discuss the Belgian GP below, but first; check out a summary of what happened in the Hungarian F1 race.
Red Bull fans were elated yet again with Max Verstappen taking first place at the F1 race in Hungary. This is an especially fantastic performance from Verstappen given the fact that he started all the way in 10th place on the grid. This was the Flying Dutchman’s eighth win of the season.
The following places belonged to that of Mercedes, which keep on improving from their slow start to the year. Lewis Hamilton picked up second (his fifth finish on the podium in a row) and George Russell earned himself third
While it wasn’t too shocking to see Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in fourth or Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in fifth, it was a bit of a surprise to find that Ferrari’s No. 1 driver, Charles Leclerc, had to settle for sixth place. This was mostly due to a bad decision to use hard tyres, which forced Leclerc to pit an extra time to switch and damage his chances for the F1 championship.
Venue, time, & where to watch the F1 Belgian Grand Prix
The F1 Belgian race in 2022 will occur at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday 28th August. UK viewers will be able to watch the race at 2:00pm on Sky Sports F1. The full racing schedule is below.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is a fabled track on the F1 schedule, with the first race dating way back to 1950. The race consists of 44 laps with a track length of 7.004km long. This makes a strong change from many other shorter circuits with more laps, as Belgium’s track is the longest on the racing calendar. The current lap record is 1:46.286 held by Valtteri Bottas in 2018.
The Spa track is adored by F1 fans and drivers alike, with a beautiful mix of long straights and difficult, rapid corners that will catch you off-guard if you’re not careful. The race is often spoiled by wet weather, but when dry, it’s a track that contains the great Eau Rouge-Raidillon, which is a thrilling combination of turns that go left, right, and then up a hill.
Oddly, the track is yet to secure a confirmed return to the F1 schedule in 2023 despite a hefty renovation there a few years earlier, but hopefully a deal is worked out as there’s nothing quite like Spa.
Major F1 talking points
Here are a few of the principal discussions before the F1 Belgian Grand Prix in 2022.
Ferrari needed that break… badly
Ferrari looked like it was practically rolling out its cars with duct tape by the end of Hungary, as nothing seemed to be going right. Both the car and star driver Leclerc haven’t been able to keep up a steady flow of performances that can rival Verstappen for the lead.
With only nine races left in the calendar, the F1 Belgian Grand Prix will be an interesting test to see if Ferrari can pull off a remarkable comeback in the second half, or simply limp its way to the finish line and focus on next year (which is basically every team apart from Red Bull).
There’s no doubt that Leclerc is the man for the job and has shown he can truly excel when given a great car, but he’s also too timid at several moments or overly aggressive when there’s no need. If he can drive in a balanced manner for the remainder of the season – and Verstappen doesn’t have his own way with every race – then a Ferrari comeback isn’t impossible.
Watch out for Mercedes and Red Bull
Hamilton and Russell are shaping up to become one of the best duos in the F1 world. The Mercedes teammates are finally driving a car that is reliable and has the speed and handling necessary to defeat Ferrari and Red Bull. While Russell has the makings of a future star, he’s already shown that he can continually get on the podium and keep his nerve over the entire race.
Hamilton is a seven-time champion and doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone, but there are plenty out there who’d still love to see him pick up one more title for the all-time record. It certainly won’t be this season, but Mercedes has righted the wrongs from earlier in the year and will look for 2023 to try again.
Red Bull needs no more spotlight, really, as we already know how powerful Verstappen and even Perez have become. The team is a well-oiled machine that continually rolls out perfect strategies in every race, but it’s all down to the determination and skill of Verstappen, who will almost certainly obtain his second Formula One championship this year.
This is how the top 10 looks in the driver standings right now.
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 258 points
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 178 points
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 173 points
4. George Russell (Mercedes) 158 points
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 156 points
6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 146 points
7. Lando Norris (McLaren) 76 points
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) 58 points
9. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 46 points
10. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) 41 points
Predicted outcome for the Belgian Grand Prix in 2022
Spa is incredibly exciting due to the elevation changes, intricate corners, and lengthy straights, so regardless of who wins, it’s going to be electrifying. Thankfully, too, sunny conditions have been forecasted for Sunday, with a max temp of 25°C expected for the race.
Verstappen, Leclerc, and Hamilton have all won in Belgium before, so having that achievement ticked off does remove some nerves before such a huge race like Spa.
Verstappen is 80 points in front of Leclerc in the championship standings, and there is unruffled confidence in the Red Bull camp that just makes things appear like Spa is another Verstappen win.
The real battle will be for second and third, and Mercedes’ continual improvement means that Hamilton is almost a lock for the second spot. Third is a bit of a coin flip between Leclerc, Perez, or Russell, but we’d have to go with Leclerc to at least keep the title race interesting.
Author: Joe Garland