Every race between now and the end of the season could be crucial in determining who wins the 2017 Formula 1 Championship.
The Belgian Grand Prix – the first event following the summer break – has seen Ferrari clock the top two fastest times in the final practice session at Spa.
It serves as a warning shot to Mercedes with four-time winner Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel brimming with confidence ahead of qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton has been forced to settle for third behind his two main rivals, whereas teammate Valtteri Bottas still has work to do after ending up in fifth on Saturday afternoon.
Irrespective of their own performances, the Mercedes duo could be set for a tricky race if Raikkonen and Vettel back up their impressive showing in qualifying.
The Hungarian Grand Prix created a similar situation where the Ferrari pair kept all challengers at bay to pull off a slick one-two finish last time out.
Raikkonen and Vettel know how to seal a result when the opportunity presents itself – they've certainly proven that this year.
But should all go according to plan in the race proper, victory will be all the sweeter following reports of a behind-the-scenes spat involving Mercedes and Ferrari.
The two leading constructors are thought to have clashed after the German team broke a gentleman’s agreement with the rest of the competition.
The FIA recently announced that as of the race at Monza next weekend, all engines must consume only 0.9 litres of oil per 100km.
Eager to prepare for its official introduction, Mercedes, Ferrari and the other eight teams reportedly agreed to work with the new rule in Belgium, too.
However, Auto Bild claims Mercedes have secretly abandoned the commitment to launch a new engine specification that burns 1.2 litres of oil.
"Ferrari asked before Spa if any teams were planning new engines, but the answer was no," the German outlet reported, per GrandPrix.com.
While they're not suggested to have broken any official FIA rule, Mercedes are sure to have stirred up their opponents – none less so than Ferrari in second.
Mercedes boast a 39-point gap over the Italian team in the constructors’ standings and they're in a strong (though allegedly deceptively gained) position to consolidate their lead in Belgium.
Do you think Mercedes should be punished for doing this? Let us know in the comments below.
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