BELGIAN GP – Lewis Hamilton continues march towards seventh title, with Ferrari power left pointless

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has taken his fourth win at Spa after another dominant performance to allow him to set a new record for the number of miles lead with victory in the Belgian Grand Prix. The six-times champion once again led from start to finish to extend his championship lead to fifty points.

Hamilton once again lead away from the start and opened a second lead from his teammate Valtteri Bottas, then from there he had control after winning the drag race on the exit of Raidillon along the Kammel Straight into Les Combes.

Hamilton is now just two wins away from Michael Schumacher’s all-time victory record which could be equalled in two races’ time at the 1,000th-anniversary race for Ferrari.

It allows the Englishman to open a forty-seven point lead heading into the doubleheader at Monza and Mugello. Bottas appeared not to have the pace to beat his teammate after the race was neutralised on lap ten followed by Hamilton’s only pit stop.

His only error being with seven laps to go when he locked up at the Bus Stop Chicane going straight on, but he rejoined maintaining his advantage.

The safety car was caused by a collision between Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell. Giovinazzi spun in the final sector into the wall which sent a tyre into the path of the Williams breaking the suspension and brought out the safety car with large amounts of debris.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was again a loamy third, finishing seven seconds behind Bottas. He finished ahead of the two Renault’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, who passed Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon on the final lap.

Hamilton said, “It wasn’t the easiest of races. I had a lockup into Turn Five and then one into the last corner. It’s not necessarily what everyone always wants to see the Mercedes at the front but we just keep our heads down. It’s an incredible mentality to work around, and we’re continuing to learn about the car.”

Bottas “I just couldn’t catch him on the straight, Lewis was faultless today.”

Verstappen added “There wasn’t much to do. I couldn’t really keep up with the Mercedes. It was not really enjoyable out there today. On the medium tyres, I didn’t have a lot of grip. I was catching up to Valtteri but they told him to speed up and I couldn’t keep up. It was pretty lonely!”

The early safety car turned the closing stages of the race into one of tyre management, the front runners needing to nurse the tyres home after making pit stops under the safety car. But while there was a concern about a repeat of Silverstone, the race passed without tyre drama.

Lando Norris was seventh after Albon managed to use the DRS on the last lap going up to Le Combes. He was unable to gain a position in the closing stages from the Red Bull, Norris was the only McLaren in the race after Carlos Sainz failed to start because of an exhaust problem.

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly was eighth ahead of the two Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez. The Frenchman lost ground to Stroll and Perez early on after the pit stop, he then put in several passes to work his way up through the field, running as high as fourth at one stage.

It has been a disappointing race for Racing Point, the team has normally gone well at Spa and loses a bit of ground in the constructors.

Daniil Kvyat was eleventh fastest, the lowest non Ferrari finisher apart from Nicholas Latifi in fifteen. The Russian finished the race seventy seconds off the lead.

As expected, the Ferrari struggled, not only the works team but also their customers Alfa Romeo and Haas, they all head to a difficult fortnight in Italy all finishing without points. Sebastian Vettel thirteenth seventy-two seconds behind Hamilton.

However, Leclerc did make a good start to be eighth by the end of lap one but it soon became clear that the team were struggling in a straight line after being easily passed by midfield cars.

Ferrari switched him to a two-stop strategy, which dropped him to the back, but even so, he took several laps to pass Romain Grosjean’s Ferrari-powered Haas in the closing stages. Also another race of heated exchanges between Vettel and Ferrari.

Vettel said, “Hopefully the problems are Spa-specific. There are a lot of lessons from this weekends and we have two important races coming we need to focus on. The package is what it is. We need to stay optimistic and see the good things, even if there are not many.”

Kevin Magnussen was the final finisher in seventeenth, almost ten seconds behind teammate Grosjean. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz did not start after a power unit problem that led to a broken exhaust on the laps to the grid.

Related

 

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.