No doubt that a wet qualifying session caught Ferrari out and tilted the Belgium Grand Prix in favor of Mercedes but the pace the Scuderia showed during practice suggested that it may not be quite that easy for Lewis on Sunday.
Could Sebastian Vettel undo the Q3 setback and turn a dry weather race into a victory? Could Lewis Hamilton hold the Ferrari behind him and guard his championship lead? The pace of the Ferrari was good in the dry and apart from trying to deploy crafty pit stop strategy, Mercedes couldn’t keep the red car behind them and it handed the victory to Vettel who closed the gap in the championship to 17 points.
Spa Francorchamps is a power circuit and if Ferrari’s pace here is any indication, the next race is an Italian home grand prix and also a power circuit so it was crucial for Ferrari to launch their championship assault in Belgium and it will help them carry that momentum to Italy next week.
A win for Ferrari and Vettel who desperately needed to reclaim pace and begin their war on reducing Lewis Hamilton’s point advantage. Through a series of errors and lackluster pace in the wet, Ferrari dug themselves a hole that they need to get out of and today was the first step.
A win for Valtteri Bottas who managed to start in the back of the pack and pass his way up to 4th place securing much-needed constructor points for Mercedes.
Haas F1 may have a point regarding new teams and prize money awarded for their efforts in the first two seasons but Racing Point Force India has been through a lot in the last three weeks and with no points to their name, what better way to bounce back from financial collapse than to finish 5th and 6th at the Belgium Grand Prix? An 18-point haul on their debut race as a new team is quite an achievement.
As for Haas F1, they may be soured by the rubber-stamping of Force India’s acquisition but they put their heads down and managed a good race for points finishing 7th and 8th for Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen respectively.
It’s a win for Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who had to pick up the Sauber mantle and run with it to the points as his teammate was punted from the race on the first lap. Ericsson joined Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in scoring points for the teams in 10th and 9th respectively.
Still a win for Max Verstappen who, apart from having the largest fan base at the Belgian circuit, managed to make the most of his tiny rear wing and bring the Red Bull home in 3rd.
A fail for Carlos Sainz who had a tough weekend starting with a poor qualifying performance and then translating to a race outside of the points presumably dude to a lack of power on a power circuit. Sainz finished 11th and lacked pace all day.
A fail for Stoffel Vandoorne who finished last in 15th place at his home grand prix in his McLaren. His job is on the line and he didn’t manage to help himself by coming in dead last of the classified runners.
A fail for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo but to be fair, I’m not sure it was his fault as he was punted from behind at turn 1 and then collided with Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari which caused a puncture and end-plate damage to the Finn’s rear wing. Daniel, suffering from damage to his own rear wing, managed to fit a new one but was running a full lap down and eventually retired the car as did Raikkonen.
A fail for Brendon Hartley who couldn’t manage to find the points to match his teammate in a car and Honda power that was doing reasonably well this weekend. The Kiwi finished in 14th.
A WTH for Nico Hulkenberg who had his Grosjean moment at turn one, lap one by taking out Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc. The German out-braked himself and hit Alonso sending the Spaniard into Leclerc and ending the race for all three of them.
Also, the poetic and glossy words Otmar Szafnauer had for Lance Stroll had to be hard to swallow given he’ll have no choice but to take the driver even though Sergey Sirotkin has been beating him over at Williams. Lance roams the paddock as cherished property but his teammate would suggest that he may not be as cherished by others as he is by his father.
Belgium Grand Prix Results:
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||44||31.372s|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||44||1m11.023s|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||44||1m19.520s|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||44||1m45.892s|
|10||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||43||1 Lap|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Renault||43||1 Lap|
|12||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||43||1 Lap|
|13||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||43||1 Lap|
|14||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||43||1 Lap|
|15||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Renault||43||1 Lap|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||28||Retirement|