This week the F1 circus arrived in the Ardennes forest, to race their motor cars on one of the most glorious and historic stretches of tarmac on the earth, but who stands the best chance of dominating the great Spa track, quite possibly in the rain?
Lewis Hamilton certainly is in with a shout. He is going to be driving a much-improved McLaren MP4-24, which won two races ago and quite possibly could also have taken the victory in Valencia, too. It is yet to be proved that this new McLaren is as versatile as it should be; whether it can cope with the sweeps and twists of Spa as well as it could do the Mickey Mouse Hungaroring turns. But all the evidence suggests it might well, and that at this stage in the season, McLaren have the best package.
The other team that will be expecting big things this weekend is Red Bull. After a disappointing result in Spain, the team are confident that
the undulating speed of the Francorchamps track will suit their RB5 rather better than the previous track. The RB5 is handy in the rain, too, as are their drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. If either of them win this one convincingly, it will constitute a strong assertion that they are the ones with the best credentials for the championship push.
Brawn are the other competitors. Rubens Barrichello will be fizzing after proving that he still has it last weekend, and Jenson Button is itching for a good result after several less-than-wonderful ones. But the big question is how their car will perform. It has previously struggled to get temperature into its tyres, and Belgium isn’t exactly tropical. Rain might slow them as well, but Button will shine if the conditions don’t.
Kimi Raikkonen, in the sole Ferrari that matters, stands an outside chance. The Finn is a master of this track, and should turn in another
performance as he seeks to convince the doubters of his skill. He will probably be a fly in the ointment for those trying to win championships
Any one of seven drivers could win this race, and it should be a fantastic spectacle as well. Roll on the weekend.