Michael Schumacher returns to his “living room” this weekend on the brink of joining a highly-exclusive club.
The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, that has already been the scene of a number of notable achievements for the seven-times champion, will be the 300th race Schumacher has entered.
Former Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello, with 326 races to his name, is the only other driver to have hit the triple century of grands prix.
If, as expected, Mercedes hand Schumacher an additional one-year deal for 2013, there is every chance he will add another record to his already impressive cv.
This weekend’s race represents a rare highlight of another difficult campaign with Mercedes for Schumacher, as despite showing improved speed, the car’s unreliability has undermined his results.
Regardless, the 43-year-old said: “Spa is like my living room. For me, it’s clearly the number one race track 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 I will also take part in my 300th grands prix at Spa was somehow almost inevitable and we will have to celebrate it in the right way.
“I’m proud to be just the second driver in the history of the sport to reach this milestone, and there’s no question we are looking to have a particularly nice weekend.
“We delivered a good performance in Spa last year, so I’ll be doing everything possible to drive a strong race again.”
Last year, on another milestone when Schumacher celebrated the 20th anniversary of his F1 debut, the German finished fifth after starting from last on the grid.
An accident – caused by a faulty right-rear wheel attachment – just 90 seconds into qualifying pitched Schumacher into a wall, severely compromising a race in which he still produced a fine drive.
Ahead of Schumacher’s latest landmark, team principal Ross Brawn said: “For the second year in succession, Spa will be a special occasion for Michael and the team as we follow his 20th anniversary last year by celebrating his 300th grands prix this time around.
“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 a strong weekend.”