This time 12 months ago, Lewis Hamilton arrived at Spa-Francorchamps 14 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the title race having been thoroughly out-performed during the first half of the season.
A hard-earned victory sparked the Brit’s campaign back into life as he went on to claim a fifth world title and Hamilton is now seeking to make sure he does not open the door to Vettel, who is 24 points adrift after a stuttering run up to the summer break.
However, could the Belgian Grand Prix be about to play another pivotal part in the title race by turning the tide in Ferrari’s favour?
The four-time world champion came home second in this race last year as he narrowly missed out on ending Ferrari’s long wait for a winner in Spa.
In the last nine years, the track through the foothills of the Ardennes Mountains has not been kind to the Italians but 2018 should be different given their superior straight-line speed.
The last of Vettel’s two wins at the circuit came five years ago, while he only won one of the final five races before the summer. However, his Ferrari, coupled with the long straights at the 7km track, should offer him a shot at cutting Hamilton’s lead.
The last Ferrari driver to win in Belgium was none other than the ‘Iceman’, Raikkonen, who has four victories to his name at Spa, putting him tied third on the all-time winners’ list.
The Finn, who has not won a race since 2013, went into the summer as one of the in-form drivers after five straight podium finishes and should be a lock to make the top three again on Sunday, barring any mishaps.
It goes without saying being on pole gives a driver a huge advantage but around Spa it seems to carry more weight than usual. Four of the last six winners have started from pole position.
Given the chaotic nature of this race in the past, being as far away from the midfield madness as possible would be a start in the quest for the chequered flag.
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