After a four week hiatus the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship restarts with one of the classic races on the calendar, the Belgian Grand Prix, held at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit: a 4.35-mile rollercoaster loop through the hills and forests of the Ardennes area.
Spa is the longest circuit on the calendar in fact, the next longest being Silverstone at 3.66 miles.
And, over 70 percent of the circuit is taken at maximum throttle, making it a stiff challenge for drivers, but particularly for engines that need to deliver good top end power, drivability and responsiveness to negotiate the fast, flowing corners such as the famed Eau Rouge and Blanchimont and the tight Bus Stop chicane and La Source hairpin.
Today, during practice, Michael Schumacher celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Formula 1 debut by dominating the session.
The next fastest was his Mercedes GP team-mate Nico Rosberg, followed closely by McLaren’s Jenson Button, Red Bull Racing ace and current Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, and McLaren’s other driver, Lewis Hamilton.
The weather around Spa is not looking good for the weekend, though we’ll bring you a full update on race day.
Going into qualifying tomorrow, Sebastian Vettel leads the point’s table in the 2011 Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship, sitting on 234 points, which is 85 ahead of second placed Mark Webber and 88 points ahead of third placed Lewis Hamilton.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains the clear leader with 383 points, followed by McLaren on 280 points and Ferrari on 215 points.
Stay tuned for our full coverage of the 2011 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, including our race results report on Monday.