Spa is unquestionably a classic of the Formula 1 schedule, and the first thing that drivers will think about when they leave the pitlane is Eau Rouge. Okay, it's smoother now, and the run-off has been improved, so you can nail it flat-out in both qualifying and the race, but it was never a corner you'd crash at due to driver error. The fact remains if you get off-line there for any reason, or have a failure with the car, you're going to have a massive shunt. Driving that kind of corner, on the edge in a grand prix car, really grabs your attention.
The track has other meaty corners, too. Pouhon might not be as daunting as Eau Rouge, but the key here is not taking too much speed off on the downshift as you drop a gear - you can't just flick the paddle so the downshift automatically happens at the optimal engine revs. If it's too early, the software will deny it, and by the time you've realised this and flicked the paddle again, you've travelled 30 or 40 metres and cost yourself 5kph. Get it right and you've made a tenth on your rivals who haven't. On TV and from the spectator banks, however, it looks a piece of piss!
The pendulum swings
Valencia was Red Bull's lowest point. The point-and-squirt, low-speed nature of the track was totally at odds to the way the RB5 achieves its aerodynamic efficiency and downforce. It's a concept decision that works well for the majority of tracks, but doesn't work so well on others.
It was disastrous for Sebastian Vettel too, but I'll give him full marks for how he handled it. He would have been within his rights to question Renault or the team after Sunday, but he didn't. Maybe it had something to do with him re-signing, but he seems very comfortable within his own skin right now.
Of course Spa is no Valencia and this weekend should favour Red Bull. The damage last weekend wasn't too bad in terms of the points difference to Brawn, but the deficit to Jenson has grown, and his closest challenger is his team-mate again.
Button has two non-finishes in hand before he's overtaken by an 'outsider', and he'll feel a lot more comfortable knowing it's Rubens in second place and not a Red Bull driver. If the enemy is within, you know your rival's driving style, what his set-up is, engine mileage - all those details make a big difference when you're fighting for a title.
Rubens delivered a great victory on the streets of Valencia. For his many friends, it was becoming a bit uncomfortable that he'd not won a race for Brawn, especially after his Nurburgring rant, but he's snapped himself out of a downward spiral and is squarely in the championship hunt again.
He has repositioned his respect in the paddock, and it gives him the opportunity to either sail out of F1 on a high or commit to racing again next year.
Ferrari's troubled two
I really felt for Luca Badoer. I shared a car with him to the airport on Sunday night, and he reminded me that he hadn't properly driven a grand prix car on a race track for eight months before Valencia. That's about as long as I've been retired! For me to jump in cold like that, I'd like to imagine I wouldn't be a mile away from the pace, but I've got the benefit of 15 seasons of racing; he hasn't raced for 10 years.
Even rookies Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean came off the back of active racing campaigns, so we have to give Luca the benefit of the doubt. But Spa really is the biggest weekend of his racing career - and he knows it. There's a genuine bond between Luca and Michael Schumacher, as there is between most people at Ferrari - probably the odd man out is Kimi, who doesn't seem to develop those levels of friendship.
I know Michael helped Luca as best as he could, but I discovered that Michael's neck injury is genuine when I put him in a headlock on Saturday night - he seemed very uncomfortable! I was just mucking around, but it seems like it's a serious one and only nature will decide when he's fit enough to race again.
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