Who to back for the Belgian Grand Prix? Felipe Massa’s the form man at the moment but Kimi Raikkonen is superb around Spa.
Ferrari reckon the harder tyres being used at Spa this year could hand an advantage to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen. The BMW pair will be poised to capitalise on any mistake by the top four – especially if it rains…
Predicting the top three for this race may be harder than usual. Two readers managed to get the prediction right for the top three at Valencia – find out who below.
Kimi Raikkonen’s record at Spa is formidable – three wins in the last three races at the circuit. It’s tempting to say if he can’t win here, he will not be able to defend his championship. Raikkonen has been struggling in qualifying recently and that has in turn compromised his race pace.
He will start the Belgian Grand Prix with a fresh Ferrari V8 engine following his failure at Valencia. But what about Massa? He will be on his second race with the unit – and Ferrari have had a con rod-related engine failure in the last two races.
Massa can change his engine without penalty (under the new-for-2008 ‘one free change’ rule) but it’s not an easy decision for Ferrari: the next two races are the toughest for the engines with the highest percentage of flat-out running. And Ferrari simply cannot afford another failure, especially with McLaren closing in on them in the constructors’ championship.
Engine concerns aside Massa, who is shrugging off almost every concern about different aspects of his performance this year, must be favourite for victory. I say ‘almost’ because I’m still not convinced of his wet-weather credentials after his awful drive at Silverstone. And Spa-Francorchamps, deep in the Belgian Ardennes, often sees mixed weather conditions.
In wet weather, my first choice for victory would be Hamilton, closely followed by Robert Kubica. In dry conditions Hamilton will likely run Massa very close but, even given Ferrari’s suspicion that the harder tyres will favour McLaren, I think Ferrari’s apparent power advantage should tip the balance in their favour.
So, based on the assumption that the weather will stay dry and the Ferraris will finish, my prediction is:
1. Felipe Massa
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Kimi Raikkonen
Two readers correctly predicted the Valencia podium of Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. Toncho and Becken, stand up and take a bow!
Can they get it right two weeks in a row? Post your podium predictions below. And if you can’t decide who to go for, copy Toncho and Becken…