Lewis Hamilton Wins Fourth Belgian Grand Prix


Lewis Hamilton won a largely uneventful Belgian Grand Prix, to take his

tally of wins at Spa-Francorchamps up to four. A dominant pole position from the

Mercedes driver turned into a dominant performance in the race, as he came

home ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas in second and Max Verstappen in

third for Red Bull. The usual suspects on the podium!


Daniel Ricciardo picked up Renault’s best finish of the season so far with

fourth, with teammate Esteban Ocon passing the second Red Bull of Alex Albon

for fifth on the final lap. Ricciardo also picked up the fastest lap of the race on the

final tour of the circuit, earning him and Renault and an extra point. Albon held on for

sixth and crossed the line ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris in seventh. Pierre

Gasly finished in eighth after an impressive display and some great overtaking

moves, which also earned the Frenchman the Driver of the Day award. Ninth and

tenth were taken by the Racing Point duo of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez

respectively.


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Following on from a dull and tedious Spanish Grand Prix, I really hoped I

would have a great race to report on this week, especially seeing as Belgium is

my favourite track and it usually throws up excitement, drama and unpredictable

weather. But, it wasn’t to be.


It was a dull race for the most part. The only excitement came from some

good overtaking moves on the Kemmel straight by Pierre Gasly and other drivers,

and a nasty accident on lap 11 involving Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and the

Williams of George Russell. Giovinazzi lost control of his Alfa and thumped into

the barriers, and it was a case of wrong place, wrong time for Russell, as his car

was struck by a loose wheel from the Alfa, tearing off one of his own wheels and

sending the Williams into the barriers and bringing out the safety car. Luckily, both

drivers emerged from the accident unscathed, as it was a heavy impact for both

drivers. There was debris all over the track, which made it surprising that the race

wasn’t red-flagged. Another disappointing weekend for George Russell, following

another good qualifying session, getting his Williams into Q2 again.


The safety car came out following the crash, and most drivers pitted for

Hard tyres to get them to the end of the race. That had a negative effect on the

race, as there would be no battle for strategy and would just be a case of trying to

get the tyres to the end.

Classic Bottas

Once again, I find myself massively disappointed in Bottas. Half a second

slower than Lewis in qualifying, and as soon as the drivers reached turn 4 and

Hamilton was still ahead, I knew Bottas would settle back in second and offer little


challenge. To be fair to him, when the team told him not to push his teammate, he

replied with “I never heard of that”, and I thought we would be in for some good

racing. But Hamilton came under no real pressure from Bottas and eventually

cruised away as Bottas kept an eye on Verstappen behind him. The championship

is slipping away from Bottas now following his win in the first race of the season

and he seems to be doing very little to take the fight to Hamilton. I miss the days

of Hamilton and Rosberg, where we would see a feisty battle for the lead. Think of

Bahrain in 2014, Belgium in 2014 where the drivers made contact and of course

Spain in 2016 when they took each other out of the race completely. Bottas

seems happy to just sit behind and play rear gunner while Hamilton races away. In

previous years, before Rosberg retired, we knew that the Mercedes cars would

race away, but at least we would get a fight between them. Now, however, the

Mercedes drivers disappear into the distance, but we don’t have the battle for the

lead between them to make it interesting.


Bottas earned himself another year at Mercedes for 2021 and to be

honest, I was quite disappointed in that decision. I can see why Mercedes offered

him another year; he’s calm, relaxed, does his job well and doesn’t upset the

apple cart, but it’ll be another year of Bottas playing second fiddle unless

something drastic changes and he decides to ignore team orders and actually

fight, but I doubt he will do that. He seems to chill and doesn’t have that fire in

his belly that and F1 driver needs. He’s a nice guy, but that can be a drivers

downfall in F1. Being nice will only get you so far, but there comes a time when

you need to get your elbows out and challenge. You won’t win a title by being just

a nice guy.


He is still third in the championship, 50 points behind Hamilton. That’s

two race wins. If Hamilton fails to score in the next two races and Bottas wins

both, they will be back on equal points. But let’s face it, that’s unlikely.


What Happened to Ferrari?


Wait a minute, where were the Ferraris? Oh, dear. A torrid weekend for

the Scuderia saw both cars drop out in Q2, and they finished in 13th and 14th,

with Sebastian Vettel leading home teammate Charles LeClerc. A weekend to

forget for the Italian team, who seem to be making no progress with their car and

after this race, are in danger of being jumped by Renault into fifth in the

constructors championship. The car has been uncompetitive all season, and they

are lucky to have picked up a couple of podiums courtesy of LeClerc.


This was the first time neither Ferrari had failed to make it into Q3 since

2014, and they spent their time fighting with the likes of Alfa Romeo, Haas and

Alfa Tauri. Both drivers looked understandably dejected after the race, and it won’t

get any easier any time soon. The Ferrari has a distinct lack of power and seems

to be quite draggy, so the next race in Monza, Ferrari’s home Grand Prix, being a

track that favours high powered and low drag cars, will most likely be another

weekend to forget for the Scarlet team.


I really hope Ferrari can turn it around for 2021, but with the current

management in place, I doubt it. The team is crying out for a leader, like back in

the days when they had Ross Brawn and Jean Todt at the helm, but Mattia Binotto

doesn’t seem to be the leader they need. It’s going to be a painful time for

Ferrari and their devoted fans over the next couple of seasons. Carlos Sainz, who

is moving from McLaren to Ferrari for 2021, must be wondering if the ink of his

contract is dry yet, and whether or not he can revoke it!

One Year On, F1 Remembers Anthoine Hubert

At the Belgian GP in 2019, the world of motorsport sadly lost young F2

driver Anthoine Hubert, who tragically died when he was involved in a serious

crash. The young Frenchman was only 22 and this weekend, F1 and everyone at

the circuit remembered the talented young driver, laying flowers beside the track

and holding a minutes silence before the race, with drivers and personnel

gathered around a big portrait of Anthoine on the grid. A lovely tribute for an

incredibly talented driver, and one the world of motorsport will remember forever.

His car number, #19, was retired in his honour.

How Is The Championship Looking Now?

Predictable, really. Lewis Hamilton extended his lead at the top of the

table and now sits on 157 points. Max Verstappen is still his nearest challenger on

110, with Bottas third on 107. Albon moves up to fourth, ahead of Charles

LeClerc. The only four drivers yet to score a point this season are Kimi Raikkonen

for Alfa Romeo, Romain Grosjean for Haas and the Williams pair of George

Russell and Nicholas Latifi.


Where Are We Heading Next?


Monza, Italy! Another one of my favourite tracks, but I get the feeling it’ll

be a carbon copy of this weekend. Mercedes will run away again, Red Bull will be

best of the rest and Ferrari will struggle. I really hope I’m wrong, but this season

has once again become very predictable following that exciting opening race in

Austria. The race weekend is the 4th to 6th of September, so there’s not a lot of

time at all before the next race and hopefully, it’ll be one worth looking forward to!

As always, take care, stay safe, and let’s hope for a more exciting race this

week!