The 2015 Formula One World Championship continues this weekend with round eleven, the Belgian Grand Prix, which once again is taking place at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps. The circuit is characterized by high speeds, sweeping changes of elevation, fast corners and perhaps most crucial of all changeable weather. The current forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms on Sunday, the day of the race, and a peak temperature of 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).
If wet weather does come, it sometimes only affects one section of the track because of Spa’s long 4.35-mile lap. This creates considerable strategic challenges, particularly when it comes to tires. To cope with this wide-ranging set of demands, Pirelli has selected the most versatile compounds in the range: medium and soft. Given the forecast, the intermediate and full wets are also very likely to feature at some point during the race.
Conditions for tomorrow’s qualifying session look fine, and the skies were bright and sunny during today’s practice session where it was Mercedes AMG’s Nico Rosberg fastest. The German’s session ended early, however, due to a high-speed tire failure. Fortunately he avoided a crash. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson wasn’t so lucky, with the Swede ending up swiping a wall.
Also suffering from some severe bad luck this season is McLaren, whose drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid. The British team made some changes to its cars including the addition of new Honda engines, with the price being the hefty grid penalties.
Going into qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s race, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton leads the 2015 Drivers’ Championship with 202 points. Rosberg is second with 181 points and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is third with 160. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 383 points followed by Ferrari with 236 and Williams with 151.