Spa has a history of producing surprising results, and today looked to be no exception.
With mixed weather making conditions hard to read, it briefly looked like Paul di Resta was on target to emulate Giancarlo Fisichella’s pole for Force India in 2009. But then, as it often does at Spa Francorchamps, the weather changed.
Just as suddenly as it had arrived, the rain stopped, and as the track dried out it granted the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and Webber a reprieve.
But today was the Belgian Grand Prix in a microcosm – the weather rewarding those who were brave enough to gamble on a different strategy. It was this kind of gamble that worked so well for Giedo van der Garde and the two Marussias, who all made it through to Q2 at the expense of the Williams drivers – who, had for a time, been top of the time sheets.
So what to expect from the race? More of the same.
Predicting the weather at Spa is always a futile exercise, given how quickly things can change. But it looks highly like that, as today; rain will play a part at some point in the race. It’ll make taming one of F1’s toughest circuits all the more difficult.
It was Murray Walker who once memorably claimed that “anything can usually happen in Formula One, and it usually does” and it seems that quote may be all the more relevant tomorrow. If the weather plays havoc, it’ll give the chance of Caterham and Marussia to score their first ever F1 points since entering the sport in 2010.
You should also look out for the likes of Paul di Resta springing another surprise. A podium may not be out of the question for the Scottish driver.
But there will also be interest in seeing how the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso make progress. Their records at this track could not be more different. Kimi is the most successful driver of the current grid at Spa, having won the race on four occasions. In comparison, Fernando has never won at Spa, but seemed bullish about his chances for tomorrow.
Both showed pace in the dry – and it is perhaps fair to say that their grid positions are not a true representation of their pace.
To be in contention though, both will need to negotiate the first corner, La Source, safely. As last year proved, that isn’t always easy, and whether it is wet or dry there will no doubt be action there again this year.
All in all, it shapes up to be a fascinating race day, and one you won’t want to miss.