Nico Rosberg makes huge McLaren prediction

Lando Norris has claimed podiums at the last two races, marking his first consecutive rostrums in F1.

2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg believes Red Bull are the favourites to win again this weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix, but he expects McLaren to once again be the “surprise” package.

The sport heads to Spa-Francorchamps on the back of the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, where Max Verstappen claimed his seventh consecutive win and his ninth of 2023.

His win represented Red Bull’s 12th in a row, setting a new all-time record for most consecutive wins by a team.

For the second race in a row it was Lando Norris who claimed P2, following another strong showing by the Woking-based team.

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McLaren have come alive since introducing a huge upgrades package, leaving Rosberg convinced that a third consecutive podium this weekend is doable.

On the flipside, the German is expecting Mercedes and Aston Martin to endure a difficult few days.

“Yeah, probably. But at the same time, there can be surprises in Belgium, we’ve always seen that there can be real surprises,” Rosberg told the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“And probably the team that has a chance to surprise will be McLaren, maybe someone like Ferrari in qualifying.

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“Mercedes I don’t see at all because they have no straight-line speed, or very little for now.

“And then Aston, I think are a little bit on the backfoot. But I would put it to McLaren to do a big surprise.”

McLaren’s recent rise has been remarkable, given that the team were very much backmarkers at the start of the season.

That is certainly not the case anymore, with the side having been either second or third in the pecking order at the last three races.

Should they go well in Belgium, then it’d suggest that the MCL60 can be competitive for the remainder of the season.

Despite this, Rosberg doesn’t think the British team can catch the likes of Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship because of how far they fell behind at the start of the campaign.

“Yeah, that’s not going to work out, but they’re going to catch up rapidly,” said Rosberg.

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“But when McLaren finish second and third, Mercedes is going to finish fourth and fifth, so it’s going to be difficult to make up that huge difference.

“But what’s the next one there? I mean, there’s Aston and Ferrari. I don’t know if they can catch one of those maybe, but even they are pretty far up the road aren’t they?

“Maybe Aston, because at the moment they only have one driver who is really getting bigger points, even though the last race they both didn’t get many points. Perhaps they can catch Aston.”