If, on the one hand, we have a Red Bull that is absolutely beyond the limits of which we will (probably) never know (as shown by the fastest lap set in Budapest), there are great variations behind Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman is certainly making the difference. Without him we would be watching a championship with five/six different winners. For this reason, in view of Spa-Francorchamps the real question is: Which will be the second force?
Since the first grands prix we have seen radical changes from second to sixth place, due to the management of the tyres, weather conditions and, obviously, the developments of the car. It is not an easy to predict the name of the second place, above all in view of a long and demanding circuit such as Spa.
Today we have McLaren as the second force. At the start of the season, it was Aston Martin, then overtaken by Mercedes, with the introduction of the B version. Who is missing from the roll call is Ferrari. Let us see if they will be able to patch things up. They are passing through a moment of discomfort, as we can see from the strained faces. It will not be easy to recover.
Among the things we are seeing is an exciting competitiveness in qualifying, with the drivers enclosed within a handful of tenths of a second. A situation that changes drastically in the race.
It will be interesting to follow Sergio Perez as well, after his third place in Budapest. The Red Bull driver came from the last five unexciting rounds.
To try and avoid the rain, this year the round in Belgium has been brought forward, even if the forecasts talk about temperatures of 17-19°C with the possibility of showers. All this reminds me of an anecdote:
On 2 June 1985 the Belgian Grand Prix should have been run precisely in Spa-Francorchamps (it was the first year in the world championship for us), but the race was suspended because the asphalt crumbled as the cars passed, making it all very dangerous. A situation created by both the high heat and the newly laid street surface. The GP was later recovered with Piero Martini finishing in twelfth place with the M185.
It will be interesting to see what will happen on Sunday, and also Saturday afternoon with the sprint race on such a long (the longest of the championship) and demanding track.
Gian Carlo Minardi