Spa, Belgium – Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, August 28. Francorchamps. Track: 7.004-kilometer mile), 19-turn road course. Start Time: 8:00 a.m. (et). Laps: 44. Miles: 191.488 (308.052 km). 2010 Winner: Lewis Hamilton. Television: Speed.
After a three-week vacation during the month of August, Formula One teams are back on course this weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix at the Spa- Francorchamps circuit.
Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel holds a commanding 85-point lead over his Red Bull Racing teammate Mark Webber. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton trails Webber by three points, while Fernando Alonso from Ferrari is only one marker behind Hamilton. After winning last month's Hungarian Grand Prix, Jenson Button from McLaren moved to within 100 points of Vettel.
In last year's Belgian GP, Hamilton dealt with rainy conditions and overcame a slip off the track and into the gravel to win at Spa for the first time. He started second but immediately pulled head of polesitter Webber on the opening lap. Hamilton led from start to finish in the 44-lap race.
"After a month out of the cockpit, I think every driver on the grid is really looking forward to racing on a track like Spa-Francorchamps, which is easily one of the greatest circuits in the world," Hamilton said.
Spa-Francorchamps is located in the heart of the picturesque Ardennes' countryside in Belgium. The 4.352-mile (7.004 km), 19-turn road course boasts some of the most famous corners on the racing circuit. Spa has always been one of the most atmospheric and popular rounds. It has been a firm fixture on the F1 calendar since 1950. The race was absent from the 2006 calendar to allow for extensive improvement work to both the track and its facilities.
"The Spa circuit has everything that a driver dreams of -- unbelievably fast corners and slow chicanes," Vettel said. "It can be full of surprises due to the weather. It can be raining one minute and then the sun can be shining the next."
Sunday's Belgian GP will be a special one for Mercedes GP's Michael Schumacher. It will mark the 20th anniversary of Schumacher's first start in F1. The German made his debut on the racing circuit in the Belgian GP on August 25 1991. Driving for the Jordon-Ford team at the time, he retired on the opening lap of the race due to a clutch problem.
Since then, Schumacher has won seven world championships and 91 grand prix, both records in F1.
"It's hard to believe this was such a long time ago," Schumacher said. "A lot has changed in those 20 years, but one thing has not, the track is still sensational. I just love the great nature of the location and the resulting layout with all the ups and downs. To me, Spa remains my 'living room,' because it has been the stage for so many things which have been remarkable for my sporting career."