The summer break is over at long last for Formula 1, with this week’s Belgian Grand Prix set to kick off a stretch of nine races over the next 14 weeks, and features three back-to-back runs.
The first of those races is the Belgian Grand Prix at the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorhamps this weekend, with coverage on NBCSN, CNBC and the NBC Sports App.
NBCSN will feature live race (Sunday) and free practice two (Friday) coverage, with live qualifying coverage coming on CNBC (Saturday). The NBC Sports App will be the exclusive place to watch live for free practice one (Friday) and free practice three (Saturday), and streams all live sessions.
After three weeks off and the field’s rested, Spa presents an interesting test and a bit of varied history for the field.
Sebastian Vettel’s win at Hungary extended his points lead over Lewis Hamilton to 14 points, while Valtteri Bottas is a further 19 points back in third.
The Spa track should favor the Mercedes more than the Ferrari as more of a power circuit. Mercedes has won the last two races here with Nico Rosberg a year ago having kickstarted his championship season with a win here, and with Hamilton winning here in 2015.
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull, 2014), Vettel (Red Bull, 2013) and Jenson Button (McLaren, 2012) make it five different Belgian Grand Prix winners in the last five years – none of which are Ferrari.
Ferrari’s most recent win here was in 2009 with Kimi Raikkonen, which also remains Raikkonen’s most recent Ferrari win – he hasn’t won a Grand Prix overall since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne with Lotus.
Raikkonen leads active drivers with four Belgian wins (2004, 2005, 2007, 2009) while Hamilton and Vettel have two apiece, Ricciardo has the 2014 win and Felipe Massa has a 2008 win here (albeit in controversial circumstances).
Beyond the top three teams, this track could play well for the Sahara Force India team, which has occasionally overachieved at this circuit. Giancarlo Fisichella scored a pole and second place finish for the team here in 2009 and there have been other fourth place finishes scored over the years. A big opportunity could present itself for the consistent points scoring pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. Williams, another Mercedes-powered team, will also look to have some success.
Here’s the schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:
- Practice 1: Friday, August 25, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Streaming)
- Practice 2: Friday, August 25, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
- Practice 3: Saturday, August 26, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
- Qualifying: Saturday, August 26, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (CNBC)
- Qualifying (Replay): Saturday, August 26, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
- Pre-Race: Sunday, August 27, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
- Race: Sunday, August 27, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
- Post-Race: Sunday, August 27, 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
- Race (Replay): Sunday, August 27, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
- Race (Replay): Monday, August 28, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
- Formula 2: Sunday, August 27, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
The next race is the Italian Grand Prix, on September 3, for the second race in this back-to-back run.