Formula One

 
                  === F1 resumes schedule with Belgian GP ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA (Sports  Network) -  After a  four-week vacation  during the
 month  of August,  Formula One teams are  back on course this weekend with the
 Belgian Grand Prix at the 4.352-mile, 19-turn Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
 
 With  eight grand  prix remaining  this season,  Fernando Alonso  from Ferrari
 holds a 40-point lead over Red Bull's Mark Webber, while Webber's teammate and
 two-time  defending F1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel, is 42 markers behind.
 McLaren's Lewis Hamilton moved to within 47 points of Alonso after winning the
 July 29 Hungarian Grand Prix.
 
 Alonso  has  the most wins  this season with three,  including two in the last
 four races. He finished fifth in Hungary.
 
 "We  have a lead of 40 points, courtesy of a car that has not been the best in
 the  first  half of the  season," said Alonso, who  has finished no worse than
 ninth  in the first  11 races this year. "Now we must try and make a good leap
 forward  in  terms  of performance  to  allow  us  to  keep the  lead  in  the
 championship,  because in the  long term, what we have now will not be enough.
 If  we are where  we are, it's because we have always made the most of what we
 had and because of an excellent reliability record."
 
 Michael Schumacher from Mercedes will celebrate a career milestone in Sunday's
 44-lap  Belgian GP. Schumacher, the record seven-time F1 champion, is expected
 to become just the second driver to compete in 300 grand prix. The 43-year-old
 German  holds just  about every F1 record with the exception of total entries.
 Rubens  Barrichello competed  in 326 races from 1993-2011 before he moved over
 to the IndyCar Series.
 
 "I'm  proud to be  just the second driver in the history of the sport to reach
 this  milestone,  and there's  no  question  that we  are  looking  to have  a
 particularly  nice weekend," Schumacher said. "We delivered a good performance
 in Spa last year. I'll be doing everything possible to drive a strong race."
 
 Schumacher made his F1 debut in the 1991 Belgian GP and then scored his maiden
 win  in this race the following year. His other victories in Belgium came from
 1995-97 and 2001-02. Schumacher finished fifth in last year's race there.
 
 "Spa  is like  my living room," he  said. "For me, it's clearly the number one
 racetrack in the world. It's uncanny how I always seem to have special moments
 there  - my  debut, my first win,  a world championship victory and many great
 races.  The fact that  I will also take part in my 300th grand prix at Spa was
 somehow almost inevitable, and we will have to celebrate it in the right way."
 
 Schumacher  has not won a grand prix since 2006 in Shanghai, China. He retired
 from  F1 following the  conclusion of the '06 season but returned to the sport
 for the start of the 2010 campaign.
 
 Two  months ago,  Schumacher made his first podium appearance since coming out
 of  retirement  with a  third-place finish  in the European  Grand Prix. He is
 currently  tied with Williams' Pastor Maldonado for 11th in the drivers' point
 standings.
 
 There  have  been seven  different race winners  this season. Could Schumacher
 become the eighth?
 
 "Spa  will  be a special occasion  for Michael and  the team, as we follow his
 20th  anniversary last  year by  celebrating his  300th grand  prix this  time
 around,"  Mercedes  team  principal  Ross  Brawn  said.  "It  is  a  fantastic
 achievement,  which has  so far only been  matched by one other driver, and we
 look forward to celebrating with him, and hopefully have a strong weekend."
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, September 2. Race: Belgian Grand Prix.
 Site: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Track: 4.352-mile (7.004-kilometer), 19-
 turn road course. Start Time: 8 a.m. (et). Laps: 44. Miles: 191.488 (308.052
 km). 2011 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: Speed.
 
 
 08/30 00:35:23 ET

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