The F1 summer break wrapped up and the constructors and drivers were back on the grid in Spa yesterday for the Belgian GP.
Quality driving was on display once again and even though Ferrari’s Sébastien Vettel had one of his best races this year, he had to settle for second place behind Lewis Hamilton who had come into this race knowing well that a win for Vettel would amount to him arriving Italy next week 21 points behind the Ferrari driver.
Vettel said “It was a cool battle. It was a very difficult nine or 10 laps – heavy, fast laps as he was very quick and I had to do some very fast laps to stay ahead. I was just thinking I want to win this race. I’ve come here, I’ve told you what I’m coming here for and I’m not leaving here without it. It was a real aggression feel.”
Sébastien Vettel came through with real quality aggression and thought he started “too good” after the restart for the final laps and haven not being less than 2 seconds away from Hamilton he was hoping for a mistake from the Englishman to pounce on. “I knew that we had a tyre advantage for the first couple of laps after the restart,” said the championship leader. “Exiting Turn One I was all over Lewis and it was not too hard to follow him. Maybe it was too good. Overall it was a very good race. It was good fun in the car because I was waiting for him to have an error and he probably was waiting for me to have an error. The quality was very high. I never really had a chance.”
Daniel Ricciardo went past Valteri Bottas at the restart to claim a massive podium finish for Red Bull but it was disappointment for Max Verstappen as his engine could not go more than 10 laps. Kimi Raikkonen failed to slow down sufficiently behind the retiring Red Bull that Verstappen was in and he got hit by a 10-second penalty from the race stewards.
Big disappointment for the Force India team also as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez had yet another pair of collisions here with Esteban Ocon accusing Perez of “risking my life”. The pair, who are most likely to be banned by Force India from racing each other, have not been on talking terms since their most recent collision in Baku and with Ocon tweeting later in the night that “Perez tried to kill me 2 times”, it sure looks like their relationship is irreparably damaged.
Finally and most unfortunately, the most popular event in 2017 behind Vettel and Hamilton on the podium is Fernando Alonso not finishing his race. The McLaren driver has battled with the Honda engines this year and his frustration is surely boiling over as heard over the team radio during the race in Belgium.
Lap 5 – FA: “Embarrassing. Really embarrassing.”
Lap 6 – Engineer: “Magnussen is 1.4 seconds behind Grosjean.” FA: “I really don’t care too much about the gaps. This is just a test.”
Lap 17 – Engineer: “I suggest shape four to protect rears, just be careful of front locking.” FA: “No more radio, the rest of the race.”
Lap 20 – FA: “Every car I overtake, they pass me on the next lap. I have no protection now…anyway, it doesn’t change my life.”
Sounds like the two-time world champion might just be giving up on Honda and McLaren
The Formula 1 is back on September 3rd in Monza for the Italian GP.