Race results. F1 Belgian GP.
Spa win sets Hamilton on course for record; red sinking
At the Spa-Francorchamps circuit Lewis Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix, seventh round of the 2020 World Championship. The Mercedes drivers preceded Max Verstappen’s Red Bull on the finish line.
A Ferrari that has never been in such difficulty in recent decades can only cause discussion. The engine, which until 2019 was the strength of the Cavallino, allows much lower peak speeds than those of the competition. It was seen at Spa, but in Ferrari they fear the double home figure between Monza and Mugello. The same team principal Mattia Binotto avoided deluding himself in view of the Brianza event, while drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel experienced the frustration of being overcome by cars that last year were clearly detached.
I found myself in such a situation, where the tires do not work, do not enter in temperature and consequently the decline in performance is dramatic. Regardless of what people can say about the engine deficit due to technical clarifications, you don’t lose 1″3 per lap from one year to the next just for that reason. They could not bring the tires to the temperature. And the fact that Spa was colder than other circuits did not help. When this happens, the performance becomes horrible. If they come back to use the tires correctly, maybe they won’t win a Grand Prix, but the performaces will be respectable again”.
What they said.
“I love this track, but the race was not the most exciting from my point of view, there was not a great fight, I tried to make my race and maximize the result. On the average tire I didn’t have much grip and then on the hard ones I initially tried to put pressure on Valtteri, but he was told to accelerate and managed to build a good gap. Unfortunately there was not much action there and the tire wear was rather high, so we could not push. Towards the end of the race I had some vibrations, so I had to manage the tires, I took no risks and I brought them home. Overall, we had a good weekend and the balance of the car was good, so we can be satisfied. We’re not here to finish third and we want more, but it’s always nice to get on the podium“.
“Spa is such a special circuit that I could drive here round by round. It wasn’t always easy for me, so coming here to get pole position and winning this weekend is great. The first lap can be a nightmare, because of the huge trail on the long straight, but I managed to keep Valtteri behind me and from there I had a strong race. Sure, I’d love to be able to win all the wheel races, but today was a different race, it was just about managing the tires and the gap from the cars behind. In the end I was a bit nervous about the possibility of repeating the problem of the tires we had at Silverstone, but luckily he held on”.
“The race was pretty straightforward. I was hoping to have some good opportunities today at the first lap and at the restart of the Safety Car, but I could not use the trail towards Turn 5. I was actually very close to Lewis at the first corner, but the effect of the wake was much smaller today than in previous years. I’m not sure why, maybe because there was some wind at the end of Turn 5. I don’t think there was really another chance to catch Lewis; he was on pole, he had a good race and he deserved the victory today. Towards the end of the race we had to manage the tires well; I was starting to feel the same kind of vibration that I felt before the end of the race at Silverstone, when I suffered the puncture.”
“Today was not easy. I don’t know what to add. It’s ugly, really bad. We have to do something. Frustration? Yeah, it’s hard to hide, but it doesn’t change what I do in the car, which is give my best. However today it was really very difficult. We had two slow pit stops for small problems. We can’t overtake even with open DRS. It’s very difficult, but that’s how it goes. Monza? It’ll be very tough there too. For Mugello or Imola there is some hope to go back where we were. But for Monza I see it really hard“..
“The word crisis in my opinion is wrong, today is certainly a very bad result, which fits within a season however very difficult. We knew that from the winter tests and also from what happened after with the reduction of the opportunities to be able to develop because of the Covid. We must grit our teeth, build for the future and there is no doubt that we are in the midst of the storm. It does not mean being in crisis. We know our course and we must try to keep it forward, which is very important. The result today is very disappointing, there is nothing to say. We arrived where we left. This track requires aerodynamic efficiency and requires power, at this time we miss both, it is useless to hide behind a finger”.
“Spa is one of the most sensitive tracks for power and we struggle a lot with power, so it is normal to lose a few positions, but on the other hand we were behind cars compared to which in the race we are faster, like Alfa Romeo and Haas, So there’s probably something we don’t understand. I think and hope it’s something specific about the spa runway. We need to learn the lesson and stay strong and united and do the best we can for two major races coming in the next few weeks. We must be realistic. The package is what it is, we are not as strong as we would like. We must maintain optimism and see the positive sides even if they are not many”.
Race results. Our marks to the drivers.
C. Leclerc: Trying a two-stop race presented Leclerc with something different from his team-mate but the net result was almost identical, finishing just behind Vettel in P14. It was a great start by Leclerc to surge into the top 10 but the lack of straight line speed saw him drop like a stone thereafter. Final Mark: 6/10.
L. Hamilton: Seven races. Five wins for Lewis Hamilton. The prospect of a title fight is becoming slimmer every race weekend and at Spa-Francorchamps Hamilton delivered yet another superbly managed race. Final Mark: 8/10.
V. Bottas: After being soundly outqualified on Saturday, a change in fortunes was required on Sunday but once again Bottas ended the race as the second best performing Mercedes. A decent start could not lead to a run down to Les Combes, nor could a Safety Car restart and chances outside of this were slim as Hamilton slowly but surely increased the lead. He did at least beat Verstappen to P2, reducing the gap between them to just three points. Final Mark: 6/10.
Ferrari: What else? Crisis or the perfect storm?. Final Mark: 3/10.
S. Vettel: Vettel’s feeling towards leaving the Scuderia might well be turning into relief given the hard time Ferrari has had during the 2020 season but, at Spa, Ferrari reached a new level of embarrassment. P13 and 14 in qualifying, ditto in the race, with the car visibly slow on the Kemmel Straight. Vettel will want the bleeding to stop but with Monza coming up, it’s hard to see it happening. Final Mark: 6/10.
D. Ricciardo: Renault entered the Belgian Grand Prix with a spring in their step and Ricciardo executed their pace with an impressive P4 finish after qualifying in the same spot. Proving lightning quick through the first sector, Ricciardo was a menace on Lap 1 before inevitably losing ground to the top three. A beautifully managed second stint saw him maintain pace until the end of the Grand Prix, not only did this result in a fastest lap bonus point, he finished within a few seconds of Verstappen in front who was forced to heavily manage his tyres. Final Mark: 9/10.
M. Verstappen: In what is becoming a very common line to use, Verstappen proved to be the only resistance to the Mercedes duo on Sunday although on this occasion he was unable to finish ahead of either. After defending from a threatening Ricciardo on Lap 1, Verstappen entered a lonely race. He was perhaps hoping for a tyre advantage similar to that seen at Silverstone but both teams seemed to struggle equally. Final Mark: 8/10.