The question heading into the Belgian Grand Prix was, can Lewis Hamilton convert his record-equaling 68th pole position into a win? Taking the lead of the race from the start was a great way to start his charge in Belgium but could he hold off the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel who seemed to have similar pace?
The longest track on the calendar always means that any deltas between car pace is exaggerated due to the long laps but could Hamilton hold off Vettel in the waning laps as a Safety Car period put Lewis on Soft tires and Sebastian on ultrasoft? The initial challenge on the restart was close but it seemed that the remaining 10 laps were not as quick as you would have thought for the Ferrari on Ultras. Was Vettel biding his time for a final charge? Regardless, Hamilton was doing a good job of making his harder compounds competitive in the waning laps.
Lewis took the win in fine fashion and converted his pole to a victory holding off a Ferrari that just didn’t have the shove it needed to challenge for the win. In the end, the Ferrari race pace just wasn’t enough but it was a respectable performance on a track that favored the Mercedes.
A big win for Lewis and Mercedes who were the favorites heading into the power circuit, Spa Francorchamps. It would have been a big fail had they lost the race and that notion holds true for next week at Monza, Ferrari’s home turf. The title is now just 7 points between Vettel and Hamilton heading into another circuit that should favor the Mercs.
A win for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who managed to avoid the mechanical failures his teammate has had this season and beat a Ferrari and a Mercedes and make it to the podium in third. A great result and quiet march to the steps. The Safety Car certainly helped him but you have to be there to take advantage and Daniel was.
A win for Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg running in the top 10 all day but his teammate, Jolyon Palmer, had a grid penalty and he couldn’t recover to give Renault a dual-points finish leaving Nico to do all the heavy lifting.
A win for Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean who produced a terrific 7th place result while his teammate was at the back of the pack. The team needed the points and Romain delivered.
A big fail for Red Bull with another DNF for Max Verstappen bringing his retirement rate to 50% for the season. No wonder the young star is looking for another ride and at some level, you have to appreciate that thousands of fans came to Spa to see him race just eight laps. Something F1 will have to take into account if they want to keep the Verstappen crowd coming to races. Bernie Ecclestone would recognize this wave of fandom and try to capitalize on it by negotiating a move to a reliable car.
A tough day in the office for both Fins, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas, who managed to get beat to the podium by Daniel Ricciardo.
A fail for Pascal Wehrleing who suffered a suspension issue and left him sitting in the garage watching a race on lap 3.
Kimi Raikkonen was trying to make well on his typical Spa Francorchamps pace but ignored yellow flags for Verstappen’s stalled car and had a 10s stop/go penalty. The FIA takes their double-yellow flag rules very seriously and so they should but Kimi failed to slow down properly in that zone.
The Force India’s hit each other on the exit of La Source on the opening lap and again on lap 30 that caused a flat tire for Perez and a damaged wing for Occon. The team called for both drivers to stop the intra-team battle but they didn’t get the message and the incident brought out the Safety Car on lap 31.
A tough day in the office for both McLaren’s and both Williams F1 cars. The power circuit just didn’t flatter either team and it not only made for a frustrating day for Fernando Alonso but relegated local hero, Stoffel Vandoorne, to the back of the grid for his home race. For Williams, Felipe Massa recovered from his vertigo, managed to manhandle his car into the top 10 which was a relatively respective recovery from 16th on the grid.
A big win for F1 when Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick, took his dad’s Benetton car for a spin at Spa and it brought some emotion and moist eyes to the paddock.
A tough day for Toro Rosso who struggled at the back but Carlos Sainz managed to score the final point in tenth.
Fernando Alonso is frustrated and so much so that he asked McLaren to stop any radio messages for the rest of the race. Now that’s frustration and it comes after he said to team that this is “embarrassing”.
An interesting digital short that NBC Sports ran during the broadcast comparing Indycar to Formula 1 and it touts the fact that they are less expensive and don’t have electric motors. Zing!
Romain Grosjean made his radio faster than his car and helped secure a 5s penalty for Perez for cutting chicanes and gaining advantage.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||44||10.791s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||44||23h35m17.s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||44||23h35m17.s|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||44||23h35m17.s|
|17||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||42||Not running|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||7||Retirement|