After a record-breaking Hungarian Grand Prix, racing continues as we head to the iconic Spa circuit for the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.
With Max Verstappen in supreme form and McLaren’s MCL60 looking like the second-fastest car on the grid, there are plenty of things to look forward to in Belgium.
Here’s my predictions for the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.
Red Light spells danger
It’s been a couple of underwhelming races for Ferrari: they managed a P9 and P10 in Silverstone and a P7 and P8 in Hungary. While their car has been getting better over the races, not being able to compete with the likes of McLaren, Mercedes and even Aston Martin have left the Scuderia lying fourth in the Constructors’ Standings behind Mercedes and Aston Martin, with McLaren catching up at a fast pace.
That said, Ferrari have plenty of positives to take forward. Charles Leclerc topped FP2 in Hungary and had a commendable Qualifying as well. The Ferrari SF-23 has shown good long-run pace, and the Spa circuit should suit them.
With the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix set to be a Sprint event, expect Ferrari to bounce back strongly and also take a good haul of points from Spa.
Watch out for McLaren
With a P2 and P4 in Silverstone and a P2 and P5 in Hungary, after a slow start to the season, McLaren’s upgrades, which were introduced at Silverstone, seem to be working like a charm.
McLaren are currently fifth in the Constructors’ Standings, a good 40 points ahead of Alpine in sixth and 80 points behind Ferrari. For the last two races, the McLaren MCL60 has been the second-fastest car on the track by a distance on Sundays, and it looks like that will continue to be the case until Ferrari, Aston Martin or Mercedes get some solid upgrades.
While Aston Martin have struggled in the last few races, Mercedes just have had no race pace to take advantage of that, which could see McLaren take the fight to Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari for that second spot in the Constructors’ Standings, should they keep up their current run of form.
With the MCL60 looking extremely quick, expect the Woking-based team to have yet another fruitful weekend in Belgium.
Podium Prediction: McLaren
To say the last two seasons of Formula One have been dominated by one man would be an understatement. Eleven races into the season, Max Verstappen has built up a 110-point gap in the Drivers’ Standings and is all set to pick up his third consecutive World Title.
Verstappen has finished second twice this season and is on a seven-race win streak. The young Dutchman is in a league of his own, and there isn’t anyone on the grid who can touch him. Even his teammate, Sergio Pérez, on the same machinery can’t get the best out of the RB19 the way Verstappen does.
Verstappen is a different beast, and the results show exactly that. Red Bull have made it 12 consecutive wins in a row, creating a new record in F1 history, going past McLaren’s 11-in-a-row from 1988. Verstappen himself is on a seven-race win streak and could well take the record of most consecutive wins in a season, which is currently held by Sebastian Vettel (nine).
Expect another dominating performance from the Verstappen in Spa.
Pole Prediction: Max Verstappen
Win Prediction: Red Bull / Ferrari
Circuit: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Venue: Stavelot, Belgium
Practice Session 1 time: 17:00, July 28
Qualifying Session time: 20:30, July 28
Sprint Shootout time: 15:30, July 29
Sprint time: 20:00, July 29
Main race time: 18:30, July 30
Where to watch: F1 TV Pro
(All timings IST)