Aug 22, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT
The return of Formula One sees the return of MotorSportsTalk’s predictions which this week are particularly difficult given that we have lacked racing for almost one month now. Spa-Francorchamps is a track that often shakes up the pecking order, potentially firing a warning shot at Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull ahead of the rest of the season as both parties look for a fourth consecutive title. Alternatively, it could mark yet another spell of Red Bull dominance as per 2012.
Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)
Race winner: Kimi Raikkonen. Traditionally strong at Spa and motivated to get back to winning and close down further in the title chase.
Surprising finish: Adrian Sutil. More often than not he’s had poor luck on his return season but this is a track where Force India has done well. Could see a potential fifth or sixth place result in the offing for him, likely ahead of the McLarens and probably at least one Ferrari.
Most to prove: Romain Grosjean. After his La Source aerial attack a year ago, Grosjean needs a controlled, calm and full race at the legendary circuit.
Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting)
Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. At Spa, drivers spend 70 percent of a lap at full throttle, which puts emphasis on reliability. With that in mind, I’ll give the edge to Vettel in the consistent RB9; Mercedes certainly has a winning pace, but Nico Rosberg’s engine failure at Hungary makes me wonder if reliability could still be a question mark for them.
Surprising finish: Felipe Massa. Not sure if anybody else needed F1’s “summer vacation” more than the Brazilian. With his drive at Ferrari basically on the line in these next few events, though, I think he can rise to the challenge.
Most to prove: Paul di Resta. After Force India failed to score at either Germany or Hungary, di Resta needs to take advantage this weekend of what has been a traditionally strong track for the team.
Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)
Race winner: Kimi Raikkonen. The “King of Spa” will be looking to take a fifth victory this weekend, and with Lotus expected to run their passive DRS device, it is hard to look past the Finn.
Surprising finish: Paul di Resta. Force India traditionally run well at Spa, so there’s no reason why di Resta could not battle for the big points and potentially even a podium this weekend.
Most to prove: Esteban Gutierrez. He may claim a point is close, but actions speak louder than words. Gutierrez is in need of a good result with the Sirotkin story doing the rounds, also.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
Race winner: Fernando Alonso. It beggars belief that a driver of Alonso’s talent has never won at Spa in F1. I think Ferrari will come back strongly from their disappointing end to the first half of the season and get Alonso back into the title battle.
Surprising finish: Mark Webber. He always goes well on the proper circuits. Expect him to do something special on his last visit to one of the world’s great tracks in an F1 car.
Most to prove: Daniel Ricciardo. Rumours increasingly suggest he is going to get the call-up from Red Bull. But though he has often qualified well this year he’s not had the race results to go along with them, and there are questions over whether he’s ready to drive for the world champions.
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