The Belgian Grand Prix has been a staple of the Formula 1 calendar since its inception in 1950. Throughout most of the past 70 years, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps has played host to the historic event.
There have been countless classic moments at the famous Ardennes forest track thanks to its incredible high-speed layout.
Fast cornering speeds are key to a good lap at Spa, but you can’t push the limits too much or both your lap and car will be ruined. Here’s our guide to the fastest possible lap in Belgium in F1 2020!
Turn 1 (La Source)
La Source is a crucial corner on your lap of Spa-Francorchamps, as one of the longest flat-out zones of the season follows it.
As a DRS zone precedes Turn 1, this is an overtaking spot, but it’s best that you only go for a move if you’re well alongside. A poor run out of this corner will leave you very vulnerable going up Kemmel.
A tight line is the best line through this corner, you’ve got plenty of time for your cars to stretch its legs after. Go as far to the left of the track as possible and brake down into 2nd gear beginning at the 100m board.
Roll the right tyre over the inside kerb and don’t use any kerbing on exit, there’s not much grip out there. Beware of the inside wall as well, it’s easy to clip your front wing on it if you’re not careful.
Turns 2-5 (Eau Rouge & Raidillon)
Turn 2 is a flat-out kink that you don’t need to worry about but Turns 3-5 are anything but. Long gone are the days of having to lift for Eau Rouge but it’s not an easy corner by any means.
You’ll be approaching 200 mph (320 kph) on the speedo, but your right foot needs to stay planted through this complex.
Position the car so that the left tyre runs over the left inside kerb on entry before fading the steering right for Turn 4. Use a little inside kerbing through 4 but avoid the grass, it will spin the car out.
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If you’re done that correctly, Raidillon shouldn’t be any issue. If you don’t get your line absolutely correct, there is run-off on both sides of the exit of Turn 5, so you will be safe, but this will cost you time.
Turns 6-9 (Les Combes)
Turn 6 is another flat-out kink that won’t give you any trouble. Turn 7 is probably the best overtaking opportunity on the track, as the DRS and slipstream are extremely effective up the Kemmel Straight.
You basically need to treat Le Combes as a triple chicane with three fluid movements on the steering wheel.
Brake at around 75m for Turn 7 down into 4th gear. Avoid the inside kerbing of T7 and use a little of the kerbing for Turn 8. Get back on the power hard for Turn 9 but lift when you turn in, you should be in fifth gear.
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You can use the exit kerbing for T9, but there’s gravel on its outside so be careful not to dip a wheel into the sand. One you’ve straightened the car out, get back on the power for the run down to Turn 10.
Turn 10 (Bruxelles)
If you don’t get the move completed into Les Combes, Bruxelles can offer you another chance to overtake your opponent. You have to exercise patience for Turn 10 though, understeer is a very common occurence.
You need to brake when the front of the car reaches the red and yellow kerbs on the left down into 2nd gear. Don’t worry about hitting the apex here, you can run a little wide to carry more speed.
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When you can see the road ahead on exit, get back hard on the throttle while still steering to position yourself for Turn 11.
For Turn 11, you need to brake when you’re topping out 6th gear or when the car clips the outside entry kerb. Decelerate to 5th gear and use plenty of inside kerbing, you want to avoid using the run-off on exit at all costs.
It is possible to pass into this corner, but you’d be ill-advised to try and move, as the corner tightens on exit.
Turn 12 (Pouhon)
Pouhon is a corner which separates the good drivers from the greats, there’s so much time to be gained or lost through Turn 12. In qualifying, you won’t need to touch the brake peddle but you will have to lift.
You’ll need to lift and drop into 7th gear on entry. When you feel the front tyres bite, get hard on the throttle. It’s only a fraction of a second that you need to lift and a corner that you need to build your confidence with.
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You can use kerbing on mid-corner and exit, but don’t touch the green grasscrete, it’ll either spin you out or make you go wide. Avoid the inside kerbing at all costs though, it’s much harsher and will spin you around.
Turns 13 & 14 (Campus)
Because of the speed you’ll be carrying out of Pouhon, you’ll be arriving to the Campus Chicane at almost 200 mph. This isn’t really a passing opportunity, as the braking zone is short and there’s only one fast line.
Brake just after the 50m board down into 4th gear and completely avoid the inside kerbing of Turn 13. Turn 14 tightens on exit, don’t get cocky through here or you’ll end up in the gravel trap.
For T14, accelerate into 5th gear before lifting when you turn in. When the road ahead becomes clear, get back on the loud peddle for your run to Stavelot.
Turns 15 & 16 (Stavelot)
Stavelot is a pair of right-handers that are like La Source in that you’ve got a long flat-out zone following it. For Turn 15, you need to brake when the front left tyre has reached the red and yellow kerbing on the left.
Decelerate to 4th gear and run the right tyres over the inside kerbing. You need to use the inside kerbing to avoid the outside run-off, which would cost you time.
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Turn 16 cannot be underestimated, if you’re on the wrong line, you will run wide and probably hit the barriers on exit. Aim for the inside kerbing, run the front-right over it and you should avoid making a mistake.
Turns 17-20 (Blanchimont & Chicane)
The two left-handed kinks of Blanchimont are thrilling but are flat-out corners these days. Turn 17 isn’t one you’ll notice but T18 needs you to be positioned correctly or you will run wide.
Be aware as well that the track is very narrow here, you can pass but it’s probably best waiting for the final chicane or the following DRS straights.
The Chicane of Turns 19 and 20 are the final corners of Spa and one of the main passing points. You can overtake on either the inside or outside, both are quick enough.
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You’ll need to brake at the 100m board down into 2nd gear. The line here isn’t parallel to the track, you’ll need to fade to the outside as you slow down.
Clip the inside kerbs of both Turns 19 and 20 and be sure to squirt the throttle when changing the steering lock from right to left. Be careful when accelerating on the exit of the corner and avoid the outside run-off.
DRS follows quickly after the exit of T20 and you run to the line to complete a lap of Spa-Francorchamps!
Setting up the car for Spa is notoriously difficult, as you need good straight line speed for sectors one and three and also good downforce for the middle sector.
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Ernestina Saenz Salcido is a reporter for News Lair. She mostly writes on her free time about gadgets and tech news. When she’s not working she takes care of her 2 daughters.