F1 2021 Belgian Grand Prix - The race - As it happened

CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW CRASH.NET'S LIVE F1 COVERAGE OF THE 2021 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX. 

After a four-week summer break, Formula 1 is back for the Belgian Grand Prix at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Suited in the heart of the Ardennes, the 7-kilometre track is stepped in F1 folklore.

A fan favourite for its iconic corners - Eau Rouge, Les Combes, Pouhon and Blanchimont - Spa is a track everyone loves.

Its geographical position means rain is always a possibility. 

Lewis Hamilton heads to Belgium with an eight point lead over Max Verstappen in the drivers’ championship.

Mercedes’ upgrade for the British GP appears to have taken the world champions a step forward but it would be foolish to rule out Red Bull.

Valtteri Bottas is unlikely to be in the mix after picking up a five-place grid penalty last time out. 

The long straights are expected to suit McLaren in the race for third.

Looking at the weekend ahead, Pirelli’s Mario Isola said: "The Belgian Grand Prix marks our third visit to Spa within a month in very different contexts, following the Spa 24 Hours, the Ypres Rally Belgium - which had its final day at Spa - and now Formula 1. The challenges of this track, especially when it comes to the weather, are well-known, as are the loads placed on the tyres.

"Last year the top three qualified on the medium tyre, while the soft offered a good step up in grip but required more management, and so was not considered to be an optimal race tyre. The majority of drivers went from medium to hard, with the pit stop dictated by the safety car at lap 11 for most of them. So we could see an interesting mix of strategies this year."