F1 returns from its summer holiday this weekend, heading deep into the Ardennes and cherished Circuit Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen enters Round 14 of the 2022 championship on top form as the reigning world champion has won eight races so far and holds a commanding 80-point lead on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Belgian Grand Prix:
Belgian Grand Prix TV schedule
Fans in the United States can watch practices, qualifying and the race on TV via the ABC/ESPN family of networks or stream it via ESPN or F1TV Pro.
(All times ET)
Friday, August 26
Free Practice 1: 7:55 - 9 a.m. (ESPNU)
Free Practice 2: 10:55 a.m. - Noon (ESPN2)
Saturday, August 27
Free Practice 3: 6:55 - 8 a.m. (ESPN2)
Qualifying: 9:55 - 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
Sunday, August 28
Pre-race show: 7:30 - 8:55 a.m. (ESPN2)
Belgian Grand Prix: 8:55 - 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
Spa-Francorchamps layout, what to expect
Spa is beloved by fans and drivers alike as the 4.35-mile circuit follows the natural topography of a valley in the middle of the Ardennes and sports some of the more iconic corner complexes in the sport from the tight, flat first corner La Source to the mighty Eau Rouge-Radillon blind crest to the fast, sweeping Blanchmont left-hander. A long, power-hungry circuit, Spa tends to separate the top tier teams from the midfield. It has only been won from outside the front row four times since 2000, so qualifying is even more vital.
The opening La Source corner in the past has seen carnage on the first lap, but if the field gets through there and Eau Rouge the first time around, it will likely be incident-free.However, since Spa is so demanding, several cars typically retire from the race with handling issues.
Top drivers and best bets for the Belgian Grand Prix
With Verstappen and Leclerc taking engine penalties for the race, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton enters with the best moneyline according to BetMGM at +225. Leclerc's Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. has the next-best moneyline at +275 followed by Verstappen (+300), George Russell (+600) and Sergio Perez (+700).
A few wagers Yahoo Sports has identified as worth making include Daniel Ricciardo to finish in the top six (+275) and Esteban Ocon to finish ahead of his Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso (+150).
Belgian Grand Prix weekend forecast
The forecast calls for mild temperatures in the low 70s, partly cloudy skies with a 25 percent chance of rain on Friday. “Rain” and “Spa” may trigger some negative memories of years past at the circuit, particularly last year’s farce that was called a “race” after running one lap behind the safety car.
As it stands, a practice session or two could be affected by weather before giving way to optimal conditions for qualifying and the race. Low temperatures mean less tire degradation, making pit strategy fairly straightforward.