Hamilton dominates, Renault improve while Ferrari struggle on a weekend of high emotion: 2020 Belgian Grand Prix Review

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

A dominant Hamilton wins in Spain: 2020 Spanish Grand Prix Review

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

A Celebration of F1, blistering tyres causing Mercedes pain and it’s a Max Verstappen win: 70th Anniversary Grand Prix Review

No two races are ever the same, even if they are held at the same circuit and for the second time in 2020, Silverstone showed just that. F1 celebrated its 70th birthday this year and the second race around the Northamptonshire track marked the occasion; fittingly the location of the first-ever F1 Grand Prix in 1950 won by Farina. It was a race those present 70 years ago and fans around the world could be proud of.

After the late tyre failure of last weekend, tyres were always going to be a topic of conversation especially with tyre supplier Pirelli bringing a step softer in their compounds to this second race. Could they do it more often? That meant a two-stop race was the way forward for most with only three drivers a making it to the chequered flag stopping once; it makes it a more interesting race even though no driver started on the soft tyre for the first time since Pirelli became tyre supplier in 2011. We saw action up and down the grid, some spins too as Lewis Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s all-time podium record; 155. However, the Mercedes dominant start to 2020 came to an end and could we be seeing the start of a title challenge? read more

Build up to Belgium and the second half of the 2019 F1 season.

After four weeks of no F1 racing, the action returns with the traditional starter for the second half of the campaign. Situated in the Ardennes Forest, it’s the true racers circuit; Spa-Francorchamps. With nine races to go between this weekend and the end of the season in Abu Dhabi, there is still a lot that can be decided but there are also interesting developments worth discussing. The first of those is the big development at Red Bull during the summer recess…

Gasly dropped, Albon promoted

The big news of the summer was Red Bull’s decision to demote Pierre Gasly to Toro Rosso with Alexander Albon being promoted the other way to the Red Bull team. Gasly has not had the best of seasons at Red Bull and his future has been the subject of speculation leading into the four-week break. The decision though came as a surprise considering what Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix. read more

Hat-trick of Poles for Bottas but it’s a hat-trick of wins for Hamilton in Spain; 2019 Spanish Grand Prix Review

The Spanish Grand Prix at the 4.655 km, 16 turn Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is always an intriguing weekend. The teams and drivers return to the venue of pre-season testing and use it as a benchmark of where they are at. It is also an opportunity for the teams to bring big upgrades. For example, Ferrari brought forward an upgraded engine ahead of schedule while Renault, for example, were looking to ‘reset’ in Barcelona.

Despite the raft of upgrades brought to Barcelona, it was a familiar story in the timesheets. Mercedes have been the dominant force in 2019 despite Ferrari being tipped to have the quicker car. Indeed, the Ferrari was quickest at this circuit in pre-season testing bit it is Mercedes who arrived with four successive 1-2 race finishes and it was Mercedes who set the pace in Spain. The Silver Arrows topped all three practice sessions and all three parts of Qualifying before Valtteri Bottas claimed his third successive pole position by a storming 6 tenth margin. read more

Hamilton dominates as Ferrari struggle and Grosjean causes first lap chaos: 2018 Spanish Grand Prix Review

After the chaotic race in Baku, who would have thought we’d see a more dominant Mercedes in Spain. That’s what we saw at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as they controlled most of the weekend.

Lewis Hamilton led away from pole position and won as he dominated the Spanish Grand Prix [Image from MotorAuthority.com].

Lewis Hamilton took pole position by just 0.040 seconds from his teammate and despite all the drama of the race was dominant to win. Mercedes secured their first one-two race finish of the season as Bottas finished seconds despite being passed by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel into turn 1. The Finn stayed out for a one-stop strategy while Vettel two stopped on his way to a 4th place finish. The change to slightly slimmer tyres to avoid degradation that was seen in winter testing was attributed as a contributing factor by Vettel and Ferrari. The second stop allowed Max Verstappen to finish on the podium in 3rd while Daniel Ricciardo finished 5th in a much quieter race for Red Bull. read more

Fortunate Hamilton wins chaotic Baku race as the Red Bulls come together: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Review

After a fascinating double bill, Formula One moved to the fourth round of the Championship in Azerbaijan. Despite never having a driver race in F1, Azerbaijan has held races since the 2016 season and the circuit in the capital city of Baku is the quickest street circuit in the world. The race in 2017 was a crazy day which saw Daniel Ricciardo take victory for Red Bull and the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was another crazy race.

The layout of the Baku Street Circuit [Image from formula1.com]

Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole for the third successive race and led away from the start. However, the chaos was behind as at turn 3 Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon collided while behind them Fernando Alonso and Sergey Sirotkin came together too. Ocon and Sirotkin retired from the race. Raikkonen and Alonso were able to continue but after three turns, the safety car was out. read more