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How strategy could help Verstappen and Leclerc charge through the field

Pirelli have offered up some intriguing possible race strategies for the Belgian Grand Prix, which could help Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Pirelli have suggested that either a one-stop or two-stop strategy should be the ideal way to run the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix. The Italian firm believe that a two-stop race, featuring two stints on Mediums and a single one on the Soft tyres is the quickest way to get around 44 laps of Spa-Francorchamps. This involves starting on the yellow-marked Medium tyre for a 12-17 tour opening stint before a short blast on the red-marked Soft tyres up to Lap 30. Anyone on this potential strategy then pits for the second time to fit another Medium set to go to the flag. However, equally as fast would be a one-stop, beginning on the Mediums and going until Lap 18-24 – about mid-race distance. A swap for a fresh set of white-marked Hards is recommended. Alternatively, a third option was floated, deemed to be "very close" by Pirelli, which would see the Softs bolted on for the start, with a target pit-stop of around Lap 16 to 22, where the Hards would be fitted.

How are Verstappen and Leclerc looking?

The two title protagonists will be starting 14th and 15th, with a late engine penalty for Yuki Tsunoda shuffling them both forward a spot after their own grid drops. Both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have a new set of the Hard tyres available and two sets of the Mediums, while there is a difference on Soft tyre usage. Verstappen has two new sets of Softs available, and one scrubbed, while Leclerc is vice versa. This is in part due to a mistake made by Ferrari in Q3, when they sent him out on a fresh set of tyres when a scrubbed set was planned. Front-of-the-grid starters Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez are equal on tyres available, with one new Hand, two new Mediums and only three scrubbed Softs available.

Belgian GP strategy and set-up insight from Ferrari

Ferrari's Senior Performance Engineer, Jock Clear, also admitted that the Scuderia faced "two different races" with Sainz and Leclerc at opposite ends of the grid. "We know that we're starting from the back with Charles, and we're starting from the front with Carlos, so you have two very different races," he explained to media including RacingNews365.com . With Turn 5 – the braking zone into Les Combes – being the prime overtaking spot, straight-line speed is an advantage at Spa, but Clear says this was not the only consideration for Ferrari and their set-up. "You have the opportunity to try wing levels; there's always a feeling that you just want to be quick on the straight to overtake people, so we looked at it on both cars," he said. "We came to the conclusion that you actually just want to be quick on the lap. In a straight race down to Turn 5, you're better off with low downforce, but there will be times Charles has free air and you need to make progress. "We eventually came back to what is effectively the best set-up for here, and that's why it's the same on both cars. "It's quickest for Carlos, and it's quickest for Charles, and we'll just drive the fastest race we can."

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