Anxiety grows in McLaren as tAhey want to start reducing distances with Red Bull Racing, and Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps gives them good sensations about it.
It sure won’t be a smooth ride for Red Bull Racing this second half of the season, for their rivals’ cars have evolved to a point where their RB6 is no longer a break point. A strong attack to their leadership is expected for the upcoming Belgium Gran Prix, with which the season will resume on Sunday 28th after a three-week break.
If last season Lewis Hamilton was anxious to win this classic race for the first time ever, which he ended up doing, this year he is anxious to ride again through the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, as he is seduced by its curves and the sensation of ridding to the limit. No wonder why the 26-year-old British driver from McLaren describes it as one of his favorite circuits.
Confident in the good results achieved by his team in the last two races -with a victory from him at Germany followed by another one from his teammate and countryman Jenson Button in Hungary- Hamilton ‘s expectations for Belgium are atop to begin shortening 88-point distances with the solo leader of the competition: Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull Racing.
As far as the weather concerns at Spa drivers will find very similar conditions as the ones experienced at Hungaroring, which is humid in some passages of the race and dry in others. Pirelli already announced what tire compounds will be available for that race: medium and soft. They think of them as the best suited to the characteristics of the racetrack, and based on them, McLaren will build part of their strategy.
Button believes that they learned a lot about the medium tires from their experience at the European Grand Prix, which has been translated into improvement. Although he hasn’t been able to complete any of the past two races disputed in Belgium, the 31-year old former world champion hopes to run with better luck this time, claiming that their MP4-26 is in optimum conditions for the race.
McLaren’s objective for the race is clear: not giving up the pressure on Red Bull in the eight races that are left. If they can find an ally in Fernando Alonso from Ferrari, who has the same goal, just maybe they can put the energy drink squad in trouble.
Truth is that after six victories in 11 races Vettel no longer needs to finish in first place to clinch his second F1 title in a row. Last year he became the youngest driver (23-years-old) to win the World Drivers’ Champioship with only five victories and 256 points. This season he currently has only 22 less and a fourth place is his worst result of the year makes it pretty evident that his rivals will be racing this second half of the season for nothing more than pride.
Mathematically there are still options for Alonso, Hamilton and Button to come from behind and give us a thrilling ending, but we can’t forget about Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber, the Australian driver who comes in second place with 149 and will be one more obstacle on their way.