There was absolutely no doubt about who the fastest car was coming into the Belgian Grand Prix.
All season long, it has been Lewis Hamilton dominating each and every race, scoring as many pole positions as he can and claiming victory in all but two events this season. Coming into Spa, everything fell into place for Hamilton as he scored the pole in qualifying and went on to dominate the Belgian Grand Prix.
Picking up his 89th career F1 victory and fifth win of the season, Hamilton’s perfect weekend only lacks the fastest lap award which was stolen by Daniel Ricciardo.
A pair of Renaults claimed fourth and fifth, with Ricciardo edging out teammate Esteban Ocon. Alexander Albon and Lando Norris would come home sixth and seventh, with Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez compelling the points paying spots.
The 1,000th Grand Prix for Ferrari was one to forget. Although both drivers completed the race, Ferrari logged its second non-points finish of the year.
Before the lights went out, there was already a retirement.
The McLaren team uncovered a severe exhaust problem with the entry of Carlos Sainz, and the issue was severe enough to force the Spaniard to miss the race.
As the lights went out, Hamilton got a huge jump, gapping his teammate by around three tenths. The Red Bull of Max Verstappen was attacked by both Renault cars, however he managed to fend them off with ease.
The ALFA-Romeo of Giovanazzi lost control in a high speed section of the course and slammed the wall. His left-rear tire detached after the impact, bounced across the track and was struck by Russell’s right-front wheel. Russell’s Williams found the barrier due to the suspension damage.
Both drivers walked away unharmed.
A few laps later, Hamilton and Bottas each reported different issues almost simultaneously. Hamilton reported a power issue, while Bottas reported a tire issue and a numb leg from braking.
These issues both seemed to be irrelevant as third-place Verstappen would log his own issue.
Despite all these problems, the race ran incident free to the checkered with Hamilton picking up the victory.
The Renault team really was able to find some magic during this Grand Prix. Ricciardo put his car in P4 during qualifying and managed to hold the position on race day. Meanwhile teammate Esteban Ocon came home a brilliant P5. Despite Renault lacking pace all season long, it was refreshing to see another team start to rise through the grid. Although it’s only one race, the penalty to rivals Racing Point I’m sure didn’t hurt their teams chances. Look for the Killer Bees over at Renault to really dig in and go for podiums in the second half of the season.
Pierre Gasly is making a case for a promotion to Red Bull in 2021. The AlphaTauri driver has been driving the wheels off his car each and every Grand Prix. Despite being demoted last season in favor of Alexander Albon, Gasly’s impressive runs have been nothing to scoff at. With four fairly high points finishes, including a season high of P7, a reunion with Gasly and Red Bull could be in order as Albon’s pace has been recently lacking. Look for Pierre Gasly to fight for a spot up grid and continue to drive the car like he stole it.
What is happening to Ferrari? The tifosi and Ferrari drivers would like to know the answer fast. The Belgian Grand Prix serves as possibly the worst full race effort by Ferrari ever. Both drivers were off the pace in qualifying, and come race day it was even worse. For a team that had a shot at the title in 2018 and 2019, the team has fallen to becoming a relative backmarker this season. Being outpace by both AlphaTauri cars and the ALFA-Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen, Belgium was an embarrassing effort. I’m sure future Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is really reconsidering his career choices after that.
Next Grand Prix
There will only be seven days in between grand prix events, as F1 heads for leg one of its back-to-back in Italy. Sept. 6 will see the teams head to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, their first of three Italian races, following that up with the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello Circuit on Sept. 13.
The series will return to Italy one final time in November at Imola.