Belgian Grand Prix: F1 race start time, weather, odds and how to watch

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) collides with Alpine's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso (C) near Ferrari's Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr (L) arrives ahead of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at Spa-Francophones racetrack at Spa, on August 28, 2022

The Belgian Grand Prix takes place this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps – Getty Images/John Thys

Formula One returns for its final race before the traditional summer break, and it will be the third sprint race weekend of the 2023 calendar, with three more to come.

Max Verstappen and Red Bull come into the race on a incredible run of form. Verstappen has won the last seven and Red Bull have triumphed in the last 12, which includes the final race of last year.

Lando Norris has taken second behind Verstappen in the previous two rounds, can he be a threat this time? Or will Mercedes come to the fore after taking pole position in Hungary?

The sprint weekend means the format is slightly different with qualifying for the main grand prix on Friday afternoon and the standalone sprint events (qualifying and the race) on Saturday.

When is it?

The 2023 Belgian Grand Prix takes place from Friday July 28 until Sunday July 30 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

What time do the sessions start?

All times British Summer Time

Friday, July 28

Practice 1: 12.30pm

Qualifying: 4pm

Saturday, July 29

Sprint shootout/qualifying: 11am

Sprint race: 3.30pm

Sunday, July 30

Race: 2pm

What is a sprint race?

Sprint races were introduced to a handful of events in 2021 but their format has been tweaked in the previous two years to get to what we have now.

This year the sprint events take place on Sunday, with the sprint qualifying (officially the sprint shootout) setting the grid for the sprint race later the same day. The sprint shootout is a shortened version of the three-part elimination qualification that sets the grid for the main race.

The sprint race sees championship points awarded to the top eight finishes (from eight to the winner down to one for the eighth-placed driver). It also means that there is just one free practice session over the weekend.

What TV channel is it on?

Sky Sports F1 have near-exclusive live coverage rights in the UK this year and indeed for the next few with their usual excellent team.

Their qualifying program starts at 3.35pm on Friday. Their sprint shootout coverage starts at 10.30am on Saturday with their sprint race program at 2.30 later the same day.

Their Belgian Grand Prix coverage starts at 12.30pm on Sunday.

Channel 4 also has extended highlights for this round as well as the remaining ones.  Their Saturday coverage is at 7.45pm with their race coverage at 6.30pm on Sunday.

  • Watch the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix through Sky Sports

What is the weather forecast?

After heavy rain on Thursday, the forecast for the weekend is a little better, though may also be affected by showers.

The Met Office are currently forecasting a 40-50 per cent chance of light rain from 11am until 9pm, with some sunny spells throughout the day. So, FP1 and qualifying may well be affected.

On Saturday the outlook is similar with a 40-50 per cent chance of light rain from 7am until 8pm. Sunday currently looks largely dry though, like the rest of the days, the highest temperatures are around 19 degrees all weekend, with Sunday being the coolest day of the lot.

What do we know about the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps?

  • Circuit length: 7.004km

  • First grand prix: 1950

  • Laps: 44

  • Race distance: 308.052km

  • Race lap record: 1.46.286 (Valtteri Bottas, 2018)

  • 2022 winner: Max Verstappen, Red Bull

  • Number of corners: 19

  • Overtaking chances:  Very good overall. Turn one, a tight hairpin, is tricky but possible. The run through Eau Rouge/Raidillon and the long Kemmel straight presents one too. The final bus stop chicane also presents a chance for the brave. A few other places, too.

What are the current standings?

Drivers: top 10

Constructors:

What are the latest odds?

  • Max Verstappen 2/7

  • Lando Norris 10/1

  • Sergio Perez 12/1

  • Lewis Hamilton, George Russell  12/1

  • Oscar Piastri 25/1

  • Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz 40/1

You might also like...

P