There’s now just one final race this weekend before the four-week summer break gets underway, but the Belgian Grand Prix looks set to offer up plenty of entertainment. There’s expected to be a good chance of rain over the course of the weekend, potentially shaking things up on the grid.
The Belgian Grand Prix has historically been one of the most hotly-anticipated races in the F1 calendar. It’s the favourite track of most F1 drivers, including Max Verstappen who won last year’s race.
But there is some risk of the Belgian Grand Prix being wiped from the calendar as no contract is currently in place for the 2024 season. A one-year extension was signed last year heading into 2023, but talks are ongoing with F1 bosses about a new deal.
Belgian Grand Prix officials recently stated there is a ‘good chance’ the race will remain on th calendar for next year. But all focus will be on this weekend’s race at Spa, with Mercedes, McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari all tasked with trying to close the gap to Red Bull once more.
59 mins ago22:24 Charlie Parker-Turner
Lewis Hamilton told that he ‘showed greatness’
Lewis Hamilton has been hailed for “showing greatness” with his response after instantly surrendering his lead in Budapest to race winner Max Verstappen, having secured pole position.
Hamilton and Mercedes will have been hopeful of at least another podium finish after a sensational qualifying display placed him at the front of the grid on Sunday. However, a dismal start after lights out helped Verstappen soar up the inside and past Hamilton at turn one.
Oscar Piastri then overtook the seven-time world champion on the exit of turn one before McLaren team-mate Lando Norris demoted him to P4 at turn three.
After his early nightmare, Hamilton apologised to the Mercedes garage through the team radio, saying: “Sorry about that guys.”
The display prompted some criticisim of the Brit, but Ralf Schumacher has heaped the praise on Hamilton instead for his classy response to throwing the race lead in the opening seconds.
“In the race, however, he messed up the start and wasted his chance for a podium finish early on. Immediately after the mistake, he apologised to the team – that shows greatness.”
2 hours ago21:00 Charlie Parker-Turner
Wolff opens up on cost cap questioning
Toto Wolff has revealed that the FIA have approached him with ‘tonnes of questions’ regarding the cost cap as they continue to investigation spending in F1.
Red Bull went over the limit in 2021 and now three teams are reported to have breached the cap last year. The FIA are keen to come down on those to have overspent, and Wolff has opened up about his recent line of questioning.
He told Sky Sports: “They [F1 auditors] came back with tonnes of questions to lots of teams and that shows how robust the process is, which is good.
“Strong auditors are beneficial for F1. We need to stop any kind of unintentional or intentional breach of the cost cap. It’s like technical and sporting regulations.”
4 hours ago18:59 Charlie Parker-Turner
Verstappen labelled ‘legendary’
Former world champion Nico Rosberg has labelled Max Verstappen as ‘legendary’ following the impressive nature of his victory at the Hungary Grand Prix.
The Dutchman extended his lead at the top of the championship and is going from strength to strength with Red Bull, with many pundits running out of praise for the driver.
Rosberg gave Verstappen the ultimate compliment when talking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast though when asked how to describe Sunday’s win: “Let’s go with legendary because the Red Bull team broke a legendary historic record of 11 successive race wins by McLaren. They’ve now got 12, so that’s an incredible milestone.
“And Verstappen himself is driving in such a legendary way. I mean, he is driving like one of the best five or six of all time, in line with a (Ayrton) Senna, (Michael) Schumacher, (Lewis) Hamilton and (Juan Manuel) Fangio, and then you start to struggle [to think of more names] already.”
5 hours ago18:06 Charlie Parker-Turner
Vandoorne returns for Aston Martin
Aston Martin reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne will have his first run in the Aston Martin AMR23 when he drives in the Pirelli Formula 1 tyre test next week.
Vandoorne will share the duties with Lance Stroll, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri with McClaren.
The Belgian has now been seen on the track since he drove for Mercedes in the Abu Dhabi test in December 2020, though he will be hopeful that his inclusion next week is a sign of things to come.
7 hours ago16:16 Charlie Parker-Turner
Rosberg takes aim at Ricciardo’s comments
Nico Rosberg believes that Daniel Ricciardo has put himself under ‘unnecessary pressure’ by publicly announcing that he hopes to reunite with Red Bull.
The 34-year-old has returned to the track after seven months away and reappeared in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, but that was after he explained that he hopes to make a ‘fairytale return’ to Red Bull.
Speaking to Sky Sports about the comments, Rosberg explained: “The one thing I will say, it’s unnecessary, that Daniel makes it so clear that he is here to get back into the Red Bull Racing team. It’s unnecessary extra pressure that he has set himself. I would have played that a bit differently and downplayed it a little bit.”
8 hours ago15:03 Stuart Ballard
Verstappen’s father details weekly habit
Max Verstappen’s father, Jos Verstappen, has explained that his superstar F1 son wants nothing to do with F1 in between race weekends.
The two-time world champion is on top of the sporting world having recorded his seventh consecutive win of the year at the Hungarian Grand Prix last time out.
At 25 years of age, Verstappen appears unbeatable and looks super focused on his target of a third world championship.
But Verstappen also values his time away from his main job and the driver’s father admits the Red Bull star blocks out the F1 noise when he’s not at the track
Jos said: “He’s very focused and he likes racing. During the week he doesn’t want anything to do with Formula 1. But once it’s the weekend, he’s there. And that’s what he wants, if you ask me. When he’s there, he’s focused.”
9 hours ago14:40 Stuart Ballard
Coulthard hits out at Sargeant
David Coulthard believes Logan Sargeant needs to immediately pick up his performances or risk being axed at Williams at the end of the year.
Sargeant is one of only two players not to pick up a single point in F1 this season – the other being Nyck de Vries who was axed by AlphaTauri this month and Coulthard believes Sargeant is on thin ice.
“This is a stopwatch championship, so you either deliver the lap time or you don’t.
“He was on average within about two-and-a-half tenths of Yuki Tsunoda, which actually, the worst-performing person on average is Logan Sargeant in the Williams.
“He’s half-a-second away from Alex Albon. He’s bringing money to the team and given a bit of space, American, that fits I guess the overall growth of F1 right now. So I think we should only ever look at the lap time rather than… this isn’t a personality competition.”
9 hours ago14:01 Stuart Ballard
F1 threaten to block Las Vegas businesses
F1 boss and Las Vegas strip businesses may be on a collision course with reports stating Liberty Media are demanding ‘millions’ from casinos, restaurants and clubs with a view of this year’s track or risk having their view blocked.
According to New York Post, F1’s owners are demanding $1,500 per head for licensing rights, meaning a place with 1,500 seats would need to pay an eye-watering $2.25m.
“They are literally shaking people down saying they will obstruct views unless they pay them,” a casino owner on the Las Vegas strip told The New York Post.
“It seems insane that they are asking money for a public event that is taking place in the streets.”
10 hours ago13:11 Stuart Ballard
Piastri tipped for Red Bull
Former F1 boss Eddie Jordan saw enough from Oscar Piastri in Hungary to claim the young Aussie star can eventually make the step up to drive for Red Bull.
“The thing that caught my interest yesterday [on Sunday] was this guy, Piastri,” Jordan told talkSPORT.
“He’d never been to this track before, maybe once in the junior formulas, and for him to come out and qualify on the second row and race like he did, and race against Max…
“Be careful where he’s going to go because I think there is big star quality in there, I’m actually blown away with this young kid, so he’d be one of the drivers I’d be looking at to challenge Max in the future.”
11 hours ago12:43 Stuart Ballard
‘Perez’s days are numbered’
Ralf Schumacher doesn’t think Sergio Perez can do anything between now and the end of the season to convince Red Bull to keep him beyond this season.
The Mexican managed to steal a podium in Hungary after starting ninth in an impressive drive.
But Schumacher doesn’t think Perez has done enough to convince Red Bull he’s the right man going forward.
“The problem with Perez is consistency – he has too many fluctuations and is perhaps not mentally stable enough. He’s simply too far away from Max and for me, his days at Red Bull are numbered.”
12 hours ago11:18 Stuart Ballard
Door opens for Schumacher
Mick Schumacher may have a route back into F1 next season after all.
Haas are reportedly eyeing up Zhou Guanyu to replace Kevin Magnussen for next season, meaning a seat would be available alongside Valtteri Bottas.
Schumacher isn’t the only driver seeking a return to the grid with Nyck de Vries also hoping to turn things around after a short spell with AlphaTauri.
Williams is also seen as a viable option for Schumacher with Logan Sargeant struggling to live up to expectations in his rookie season.
13 hours ago10:33 Stuart Ballard
Ferrari ‘tense’ talks
Martin Brundle feels Ferrari’s debrief at the Hungarian Grand Prix would have been ‘somewhat tense’ after another disappointing race.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished seventh and eighth respectively and were more than a minute behind race winner Max Verstappen at the end.
They’re at risk of dropping further down the Championship standings if results don’t improve with Brundle onconvinced by their development.
He said: “Ferrari were the fourth fastest car on race day and were out-qualified by two of their customer teams in Alfa Romeo and Haas.
“I can imagine their debriefs after Budapest and heading directly to Spa were somewhat tense…”
14 hours ago09:49 Stuart Ballard
Rosberg aims shots at Horner
Nico Rosberg’s war of words with Christian Horner continued at the Hungarian Grand Prix with the former Mercedes driver calling on Red Bull to help Sergio Perez catch Max Verstappen.
There’s been an underlying current to Rosberg and Horner’s relationship this year, with the pair aiming short and sharp barbs at one another in interviews.
And Rosberg used Perez’s strong finish in Hungary to take aim at Red Bull, suggesting they need to do more to help the Mexican.
“Checo did a great job and I would recommend that they make sure that now the engineers really focus on all these wonderful things that he did and really build so that he can be in front of Max.
“It’s those little things that make a big difference mentally. Some of the passes from him were amazing.”