F1 2018: 5 Early Predictions for the Belgian GP
After what seemed like an eternal summer break, the 2018 Formula One season returns at The Circuit Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. At one of motorsport's most beloved tracks, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and indeed every other team on the grid will be looking to start off the second half of the season with a strong showing.
Both the Drivers' and the Constructors' Championships are close with Mercedes sitting 10 points ahead of Ferrari currently, and Lewis Hamilton leading the driver's race with a 24-point lead over Sebastian Vettel.
Lower down the order, Red Bull are holding down third place in front of Renault, Haas and Force India. While Kimi Raikkonen sits 6 points ahead of Valtteri Bottas with the two Finns taking third and fourth, Ricciardo and Verstappen are vying for 5th and 6th behind them.
The F1 silly season is also under way with shock moves such as Ricciardo to Renault for 2019, as well as Alonso retiring and Sainz heading to McLaren all being confirmed. With all this shuffling going on, we have to remember that everybody will be staying put for at least another nine races.
What will go down in any of them? We don't know, and certainly not in Belgium, but like always, that won't stop us from guessing!
Here are our 5 early predictions for the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix:
#1 Raikkonen takes pole
One of the more low key pieces of news that came out over the F1 summer break was that Kimi Raikkonen, soon to be 39 years old, has probably re-signed with Ferrari for the 2019 F1 season. While some fans may have been ready for Charles LeClerc to be moved into the Ferrari seat, Raikkonen is possibly driving better than he has in years and the Iceman has shown no desire to step down.
LeClerc could also be a wrench in the works for Vettel's ongoing championship aspirations, and it seems Ferrari would rather have the Monegasque build some more experience at Sauber.
While everyone's eyes will be on Hamilton and Vettel on Saturday, Raikkonen has been up there in every qualifying this season, and the Finn actually holds the lap record on Spa's current layout.
Raikkonen also has four previous victories at Spa, the most of any driver on the current grid, meaning that the 2007 world champion certainly has what it takes to put in a good lap here. Raikkonen's last pole position was at Monaco last year, and we believe that Kimi will get his next this Saturday.