Mika Salo's Lap of Spa

Spa is a good circuit. It feels like you are speeding on the motorway! It has lots of nice corners, and it has both up and down hill sections. Also it's a serious power circuit. If you have power and a good car, it's OK. But the weather is bad every time we go there

Mika Salo's Lap of Spa

It's also quite a low downforce circuit, so we can't brake really heavily for the first corner, La Source. It's first gear. There are a lot of different lines out of it. Some people go wide and some take it tight, but it doesn't really matter for the lap time. Then it's up the gears as you go down the hill. In qualifying trim Eau Rouge is flat, but in the race there might be a little lift in the second part, where you turn right.

It feels like a quick chicane. You just go through and bang, you're out of it already! Everybody knows there's lots of time in it, because if you back off you lose speed for the whole of the back straight. I know how it feels to get it wrong...

The next chicane is taken in third gear. It's not slow, and it's quite driveable. When you exit you have to take the line for the next righthander, which is still third gear. You shift up to fourth and fifth before the hairpin. You have to be careful on the brakes there, because there's a little bit of camber and very slippery, and also as it's downhill it's very easy to brake late and go wide. It's in second gear.

You accelerate hard, and it's third all the way through the next lefthander. There's a long downhill section, and you go up the gears. The next lefthander is a long double corner. You're up to sixth gear before that, and you come down to fourth gear. There are very flat kerbs there, and you can use all of them. There's a big sandtrap, so if you lose it you don't hit anything.

On the exit it's fifth and sixth before the next chicane, which is very similar to the one at the top of the hill. It's a right/left. You always have understeer in the second part. You go up to fourth before that, and then down to third for the first righthander. It's downhill braking and a little bit off-camber. The exit from this one is very important, and you can use all the kerbs. Right on the exit you take fourth, and the next righthander is flat in fourth gear. Then you come back on the old circuit.

It's fifth and then sixth, and then it's flat., You just have to keep the right line all the way through those curves. The last lefthander if you're not on the right line you can go wide and you have to back off.

It's really heavy braking for the Bus Stop, and if you haven't messed up your lap yet, you will here if you brake too late! You go straight over the kerbs and try to get traction for the exit. You might have to back off for the second bit, because the car understeers a lot.

There are quite a lot of places to overtake; the Bus Stop, La Source, and the end of the back straight.

Spa-Francorchamps circuit profile.

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