No driver has a 100% Q3 record at Spa, Kimi Raikkonen has taken a fifth of his total F1 wins here and Kevin Magnussen has never scored a point at the track. Here’s a review of each driver’s history at the Belgian Grand Prix.
🇬🇧 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has taken three victories and six podiums at Spa, but he’s had trying times and controversies at the track along the way. In 2008, Hamilton was relegated from the win to third after a time penalty. He crashed out of the race on the first lap in the following season, before his car became Pastor Maldonado’s target after an altercation in Qualifying for the 2011 race. In 2012, Hamilton was eliminated at the first corner in a huge pile-up caused by Romain Grosjean. He and team-mate Nico Rosberg also memorably collided at the track in 2014, a race which Hamilton ultimately retired from. Nevertheless, he’s scored the most points of any current driver at the track. His 2016 Belgian Grand Prix is perhaps his most impressive here. Having started 21st following a raft of engine penalties, he still managed to finish on the podium. In the seven races Hamilton has finished at Spa, he’s never finished below fourth. He’s taken pole four times and has started from the front row on six occasions. He hasn’t been beaten by a team-mate in Qualifying here on pure pace since 2014. Hamilton has reached Q3 every year except 2009 where he was eliminated in Q2 and 2016 when he didn’t attempt a fast lap and was eliminated in Q1.
🇫🇮 Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas has a single podium finish to his name at the Belgian Grand Prix so far in his career. That came back in 2014, when he was driving for Williams. He’s scored points every time he’s visited the track, except in his maiden season; but he does have a 100% finish record here. The Finn has reached Q3 in every season except 2013, where he was out in Q1. His best qualifying position here is third, which he’s achieved twice – in 2015 and 2017. Last season was the first time he’d been out-qualified by a team-mate at the track since 2013. Bottas has failed to finish the race higher than where he started it in every year since 2015.
🇩🇪 Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has finished on the podium in the Belgian Grand Prix only once in the past four years. He’s had two wins here – in 2011 and 2013 – and five total podium appearances. Vettel has suffered two retirements at the track, in his début season and in 2015, the latter due to a tyre failure in the closing stages. He’s had three front row starts at Spa, including a pole in 2011, his only pole so far in Belgium, and has reached Q3 on every appearance here since 2013. 2013 was the last time where Vettel gained a position on his starting place by the end of the Belgian Grand Prix. He’s beaten his team-mate in four of the last five qualifying sessions at the track.
🇫🇮 Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen has taken one fifth of all his Formula One race victories at the Spa circuit. Before his 2012 comeback, Raikkonen had only two results here – either a win (in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009) or a DNF (2001, 2002, 2008). The Finn has the most wins of any current driver at the Belgian Grand Prix, though he’s only appeared on the podium once since his comeback; he finished third in 2012. He hasn’t finished above fourth in the past four years at this track. Raikkonen has beaten his team-mate in Qualifying only twice since he returned to F1 in 2012. He hasn’t started on the front row since 2007, when he took his solitary Belgian Grand Prix pole. 2015 is the only year where Raikkonen hasn’t reached Q3 at the track.
🇦🇺 Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo took his third victory of the 2014 season at Spa – which remains his only win so far at the track. Since then, he’s had two podium finishes here in the last two seasons. He’s scored in every race which he has finished in Belgium, with just two retirements at the track in 2011 and 2015. Ricciardo has never qualified higher than fifth for the Belgian Grand Prix, and 2015 is the only season in which he has beaten his team-mate in Qualifying at this track. He’s reached Q3 here in every season since 2014. The Australian has gained at least three places on his grid position in all of the five races he’s completed here.
🇳🇱 Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen has only scored points once at Spa. That was in his debut season, when he finished in eighth place. Since then, he’s recorded an eleventh place finish and, more recently, a DNF. Verstappen recorded his equal-best qualifying position here in 2016, with second on the grid. He’s yet to beaten by team-mate Ricciardo in qualifying at the track. Verstappen has a mixed record here, having gained ten places on a lowly grid slot in 2015 but he also lost nine places on his starting slot in 2016. The Dutchman has reached Q3 in both of his appearances at the track with Red Bull.
🇲🇽 Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez has retired from the Belgian Grand Prix three times and has finished in the points three times. His best finish at the track is fifth, which he’s achieved twice, in 2015 and 2016. Similarly, Perez has a best qualifying position of fifth at the track, which he has also achieved twice, in 2012 and 2015 – though on both occasions where he qualified fifth, he actually started from fourth on the grid. In the four races he’s finished here, Perez has never lost more than one position on his starting place. He’s reached Q3 at this track in every season since 2015, and hasn’t been beaten by his team-mate in Qualifying here since 2013.
🇫🇷 Esteban Ocon
Esteban Ocon made his Formula One début at this track for Manor in 2016. In his only race with Force India so far at Spa he finished in the points, bringing the car home in ninth place. Ninth is also the Frenchman’s best qualifying performance to date at the track. He’s yet to beat a team-mate in Qualifying at Spa.
🇨🇦 Lance Stroll
On his only F1 appearance here so far, Lance Stroll finished the race just outside the points in eleventh place after qualifying in eighteenth and starting from fifteenth on the grid. He’s yet to progress past Q1 or beat a team-mate in Qualifying at the track.
🇷🇺 Sergey Sirotkin
Sergey Sirotkin has no past F1 experience at Spa-Francorchamps. He raced here in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2013 and 2014, but his best result so far at the track came in the GP2 series in 2015, where he finished sixth in the Sprint Race.
🇩🇪 Nico Hulkenberg
Considering fourth is his best ever F1 result, it’s perhaps impressive that Nico Hulkenberg has finished fourth here twice, in 2012 and 2016. He’s had four points finishes here from seven appearances, and no DNFs – but he has suffered a DNS at the track, back in 2015. Hulkenberg has qualified in seventh for both of the last two Belgian Grands Prix, though his qualifying record here isn’t particularly spectacular. He’s had one Q1 exit, three Q2 exits and three Q3 appearances. The German doesn’t have a strong record against his team-mate in qualifying here either, having been beaten five times in seven appearances. Hulkenberg hasn’t lost a position on his starting place during a race here since 2013.
🇪🇸 Carlos Sainz
In both of his first two visits to Spa, Carlos Sainz failed to finish the race. He had better luck in last year’s Belgian Grand Prix though – he scored his first point in Belgium with a tenth place finish. Sainz has only qualified in the top ten once here – in his debut season – but has never been eliminated in Q1. He’s never been beaten by a team-mate in Qualifying at this track.
🇫🇷 Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly has no past F1 experience at Spa, but has raced here in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2. He won the GP2 Feature Race at the track in 2016.
🇳🇿 Brendon Hartley
Brendon Hartley has no past F1 experience in Belgium, but has competed here in the 6 Hours of Spa five times in the World Endurance Championship, in which he finished on the podium three times. He also raced here in Formula Renault 3.5 and recorded the best result of his GP2 career at the track in 2011, when he finished fifth in the Feature Race.
🇫🇷 Romain Grosjean
Spa is the track at which Romain Grosjean had his infamous first lap crash in 2012 which saw him receive a one-race ban from F1. It’s also a track at which he took one of his most euphoric results – an unlikely podium finish in 2015, when the Lotus team were in the midst of financial troubles. In addition to his podium, Grosjean has had two further points finishes at the track in 2013 and 2017. The Frenchman has a best qualifying performance of fourth here in 2015, though he only lined up ninth on the Sunday due to a grid penalty. His best grid slot here is seventh, in 2013. He hasn’t been beaten by a team-mate in Qualifying at the track since 2012, and hasn’t been eliminated in Q1 at Spa since his debut Belgian Grand Prix in 2009. He is yet to reach Q3 here while driving for Haas.
🇩🇰 Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen’s most eventful race at Spa came in 2016, when he suffered the biggest crash of his Formula One career. Magnussen is yet to score a point at the Belgian Grand Prix, with twelfth in 2014 being his best result so far. 2014 also saw his best qualifying performance and only Q3 appearance here, with seventh on the grid. He’s lined up twelfth in both of the last two seasons at Spa. 2017 was the first time the Danish driver was beaten by a team-mate in Qualifying at the track. He has never gained a position on his starting place during a Belgian Grand Prix.
🇪🇸 Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso’s victory in the 6 Hours of Spa earlier this year was his first victory at Spa since his days in the junior formulas; he’s never won here in F1. He’s taken three podiums here, though, in 2005, 2007 and 2013. Alonso has had just one points finish in Belgium since his return to McLaren, and hasn’t appeared in Q3 here since 2014. His 2016 race was impressive, as he came from the back of the grid and made up fifteen positions to finish seventh. 2014 is the only time where the Spaniard lost a position on his starting place during a Belgian Grand Prix which he completed.
🇧🇪 Stoffel Vandoorne
Stoffel Vandoorne has had one previous home race experience. In last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, Vandoorne finished in fourteenth after starting the Grand Prix from last on the grid. He reached Q2, but was unable to beat his team-mate in Qualifying.
🇸🇪 Marcus Ericsson
Marcus Ericsson has had one points finish at the Belgian Grand Prix. He finished tenth in the 2015 race here. He’s qualified nineteenth or lower in all but one of his appearances here, having qualified thirteenth in 2015. Ericsson has made up at least one place on his grid slot in all three of the Belgian Grands Prix he has completed.
🇲🇨 Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc has no past F1 experience at the Spa Francorchamps circuit. Leclerc has won at the track in F3 and GP3 and had a dominant win in F2 last year, though he was stripped of the victory due to a technical infringement.
After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fifth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.