Spa, Belgium – Summer vacation is over for Formula One teams.
After a three-week break, F1 begins the second-half of the season with this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull enters round 11 of the 19-grand prix season with a 38-point lead over Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso from Ferrari is 39 points behind, while Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton trails by 48. Hamilton won the most recent grand prix on July 28 in Hungary. It also was his first victory with Mercedes.
"It feels like I have been out of the car for a very long time since the win in Hungary, and I can't wait to get going again," Hamilton said. "We're all looking forward to the second half of the season and the opportunity to bring home some more good results."
Vettel is attempting to win his fourth consecutive F1 world championship. He leads all drivers with four wins this season (Malaysia, Bahrain, Canada and Germany, his home country). Vettel won the Belgian GP in 2011 and finished in this event last year.
"I think we had a great first part of the season," Vettel said. "Now entering the second half and looking at the calendar, I think it will be very busy for all of us, but I think we have the same reason to be confident as we had starting the season. I think we have a great car, a great team, a strong package, which hopefully is good enough to fight for victories in the next couple of races."
The Belgian GP is contested on the 4.352-mile, 19-turn Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which is one of the fastest tracks on the F1 calendar. Jenson Button is the defending race winner, but the McLaren driver has struggled this season, as he sits ninth in points (-133). Button's best finish this year is fifth, which came in the Chinese Grand Prix.
"The thing about Spa is that it just feels awesome to nail a quick lap around there," Button said. "You need a car that's perfectly synced to the driver, because it's such a long lap and there are so many big corners that you need to find that perfect balance. And getting the set-up right and running flat- out for nearly two minutes feels incredible. We don't go to Spa with the package to win, but I'll still be making the most of every single lap around this place. It'll still feel incredible."
Raikkonen leads all active drivers with four wins in the Belgian GP.
Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, Aug. 25. Race: Belgian Grand Prix. Site: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Track: 4.352-mile (7.004-kilometer), 19-turn road course. Start Time: 8 a.m. ET. Laps: 44. Miles: 191.488 (308.052 km). 2012 Winner: Jenson Button. Television: NBC Sports Network.