MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Belgian Grand Prix

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Following a month-long summer break, the 2015 Formula 1 season resumes this weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton arrives at the track with a healthy advantage of 21 points over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ standings, but knows that one retirement could change everything.

Ferrari arrives in Belgium as the team in form following Sebastian Vettel’s dominant performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix last month, and with Kimi Raikkonen now under less pressure after being confirmed for 2016, the Italian marque will be hoping to fight at the front once again this weekend.

Once again, MotorSportsTalk’s Luke Smith and Tony DiZinno have cast their eye over the field ahead of this weekend’s race and made some predictions. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. A former winner at Spa, Hamilton heads to Belgium this weekend with a point to prove after his clash with Nico Rosberg at Les Combes last year. That will undoubtedly be the big talking point this weekend, and although he was off the boil in Hungary, expect Hamilton to soak up the pressure and bounce back with a win at Spa on Sunday.

Surprising FinishKimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen is a Spa master, winning the race four times. No wonder it is his favorite circuit. Following yesterday’s news that he would be staying with Ferrari for 2016, the pressure has been eased. Let’s see if he can flourish this weekend.

Most to ProveNico Rosberg. After blowing a golden opportunity to get back into the title hunt and even take the championship lead in Hungary, Rosberg arrives in Spa under a ton of pressure. Memories of 2014 will be fresh in everyone’s mind, casting Rosberg as the villain for this particular novella. Can he silence his critics and beat Hamilton at Spa?

Additional Storyline to WatchMcLaren’s improvements. Hungary looked to be something of a turning point for McLaren as both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finished in the points. Honda has promised an engine upgrade for Spa, and although another top-five may still be out of reach, it will be intriguing to see how McLaren fares this weekend.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton. I think Mercedes resumes up front after the crazy, abnormal Hungarian Grand Prix, with Lewis back ahead of Nico and no drama after last year’s race.

Surprising Finish: Kimi Raikkonen. Armed with a new contract, Kimi could contend for a podium at a track he runs very well at. Has to get past his teammate first but if there’s a place to do it, it’s Spa.

Most to Prove: Red Bull and McLaren. Both teams scored double points at Hungary but a track that’s diametrically opposed to the high-downforce, low speed twisty circuit, can they back it up here?

Additional Storyline to WatchThe midfield battle. Beyond Merc and Ferrari who emerges best from the summer break at the head of the next tier?

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari

For full details on NBCSN, CNBC and NBC Sports Live Extra’s broadcasting of the Belgian Grand Prix, click here.