The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes Forest, Belgium is one of THE favourite circuits for drivers and fans alike so it was great to see the race going ahead this year. Usually, it is the traditional first race back after the summer break but it was the 7th of the unusual format of the 2020 season as F1 attempts to fulfil a now confirmed 17 race calendar. F1 arrived with a new concord arrangement in place with all ten teams committed to the sport until 2025, Williams under new ownership and the final races for the year confirmed.
A year on from the tragic passing of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert, the return to Spa was always going to be an emotionally charged weekend for the paddock with so many drivers in the paddock close friends of his including Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon. A minutes silence was held before each race from F1 down to F3.read more
The Circuit de Barcelona-Cataluyna hosted its 30th edition to the Spanish Grand Prix a little bit later than planned this year. Slightly surprisingly going ahead six months after pre-season testing at the circuit in February, it was a different story to those cool temperatures. After the 70th Anniversary race at Silverstone, the heat and tyres was always going to be a factor; would Mercedes struggle again? Could Max Verstappen bring himself into play? Consequently, for most, it was a two-stop race but it is a difficult circuit to overtake on so while lap records tumbled again, it wasn’t that entertaining of a race as only three finished on the lead lap.
It was notable for several reasons though. Kimi Raikkonen broke the record for most distance raced in an F1 car on lap 37 at over 52,000 miles; more than twice the circumference of the Earth, Sergio Perez returned to the paddock after his experience with Coronavirus and potentially, the last time in Qualifying Mercedes could use their infamous ‘party mode’ with the high power qualifying modes expected to be banned by the time F1 goes racing in Belgium. For the race winner Lewis Hamilton [Pictured above, image from South China Morning Post], he recorded a landmark150th front row start and translated that into his 88th victory and 156th podium; taking the record for most podiums in F1 outright.read more
I am now on the countdown to 100 of these posts. I never expected to still be doing this long enough to reach 100 but I have enjoyed doing this regardless of what anyone thinks. Needless to say, I will be marking that with a special post.Oh and for the record this is number 96.
The promised review of this doubleheader and including my driver ratings for during F1’s first ever tripleheader will be the next F1 post. Then, there will be none until the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August as the team and drivers go for their summer break; hence no Grand Prix to comment on.
Away from the F1 posts and the next football post will be a review of the World Cup in Russia while there will be a preview of the upcoming Premier League season published before the opening weekend of the new season.
As for the sharing of my political opinions, there are a few in the pipeline so watch this space…
A week on from the rain impacting upon the race at Hockenheim, the rain impacted upon Qualifying at the Hungaroring. That meant there were surprises to be had in the Qualifying hour as whoever had the best tyre at the right time would do well. Daniel Ricciardo was one of those caught out by the conditions in Q2 as he failed to get into the top 10 while both Toro Rosso’s did with Pierre Gasly out-qualifying even Max Verstappen in Q3. However, it was Lewis Hamilton who mastered the tricky conditions to deliver pole position and lead a Mercedes one-two despite Ferrari being the pacesetters up to that point.
For the race, Ferrari split their strategies with Raikkonen starting on the ultra-soft tyre and Vettel on the soft tyre. That did not go to plan as Raikkonen did not pass ether Mercedes but instead found himself passed by his teammate around the outside of turn two. Elsewhere through the grid, Ricciardo did not have a great start and was down to 16th after contact with his front left tyre at turn 1 while Charles Leclerc’s race ended after contact of his own on the opening lap. Hamilton led away from Bottas.read more
Last weekend saw history in Formula One. On his 200th Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton equalled the 68 career pole position record set by Michael Schumacher with an incredible performance and setting the new track record for Spa-Francorchamps along the way. In the race, Hamilton was equally supreme in keeping the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel behind as the four-time World Champion was never more than 2 seconds behind him throughout. Championships the frustrations of Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen was evident in the early stages. The latter suffered his 6th mechanical DNF of the season as his car simply lost power. The former, felt the sinking feeling of a lack of power in his Honda engine as car after car found their way past him with the Spaniard telling his team to leave him alone at one stage. The Force India drivers were the major talking point. They had already banged wheels on the slope down to Eau Rouge on the opening lap when the collided again on lap 29. Sergio Perez tried to block his teammate getting past but succeeded in picking up a rear right tyre puncture and front wing damage for his Esteban Ocon. The contact and resulting debris brought out the Safety Car which became the defining moment of the race.
From the restart, Hamilton did well to defend from Vettel who picked up a tow after climbing Eau Rouge and almost had the move done. However, the Mercedes man held the inside line very well indeed. Kevin Magnussen squandered a points scoring position by locking up under braking at the restart and running wide. Daniel Ricciardo meanwhile, was the big winner. The Red Bull looked comfortable for 5th before hand. At the restart, he drove daringly to pass both Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas along the straight up to Las Combes and took 3rd place. He managed to hold on for the podium; Renault. Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag to win on his 200th Grand Prix start. He became only the fourth driver to do so after Michael Schumacher (2004 European Grand Prix), Jenson Button (2011 Hungarian Grand Prix) and Nico Rosberg (2016 Singapore Grand Prix).read more