It’s no secret that The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of my favourite tracks on the F1 calender. Not only is it challenging to drive in physical Motorsport, as Kimi Räikkönen has often been quoted with saying, but as sim racing becomes ever-more realistic (Toro Rosso F1 driver Max Verstappen has recently returned to sim racing for an iRacing team) it’s also my personal favourite track to race as a sim race driver.
On that note, local favourite Verstappen, having been born only 60 miles away from the Belgium GP track, made use of that extra sim racing practice—pulling the most exciting manoeuvres of the race and possibly the most daring manoeuvre ever seen in Formula 1 at Spa.
It was Lewis Hamilton, who will take the sports headlines though (alongside Usain Bolt) having beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in a pole to chequered flag victory— extending his Formula 1 world championship lead to 28 points. Lewis made a smooth getaway, but it was Sergio Perez that impressed at the start; allowing the engine to bog-down just enough at the launch before his Force India gained down-force and traction and he could unleash full power. After catching up to Hamilton’s car at the La Source hairpin, he used the slingshot effect through Eau Rouge and along the straight to put the leading Mercedes under early pressure at Les Combes. However, Hamilton sensibly placed his car on the inside, maintained position through the corner and was able to pull away from the chasing pack from there.
Hamilton’s team-mate, Rosberg, bogged down too much at the start however; he dropped to fifth which left a lot of work to do in order to recover. Recovered though, he did—finishing in second place. He will be disappointed to have slipped down the grid at the lights though.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was on course to complete the podium, after his team attempted a risky one-stop strategy. The gamble didn’t pay off however and after pushing a set of medium tires for 29 laps the right-rear tyre failed with just a few laps to go until the checked flag! This allowed Romain Grosjean, who had been hustling Vettel after a fantastic drive through the chasing pack, to give Lotus its first podium of the season—what an awesome result for Lotus fans and the team (which is currently amid legal battles and facing an uncertain future).
Last year’s race winner Ricciardo was also in contention for a podium, running third early on. However his Red Bull completely shut-down on the exit of the Bus Stop. Nico Hulkenberg was another non-finisher (really a non-starter), after his Force India encountered mechanical issues on the start grid.
With Hamilton leading and pulling away with ease, it was clear that Mercedes are still the unrivalled. But the middle of the grid is starting to get really exciting, with battles between Ferrari, Williams and Red Bull frequent. Max Verstappen wanted a piece of the action too and pulled an insane move on Sauber’s Felipe Nasr by running on the outside around Blanchimont (at around 200 mph) giving him the inside line into the last chicane. He latter tried a move on Raikkonen at Les Combes on the last lap but ran out of road and had to settle for eighth in the end. This was ahead of Valtteri Bottas, whose race unravelled when Williams mistakenly fitted his car with three soft tyres and a medium.
Further down the grid the McLaren Honda’s continued to struggle, with Button joking on the team-radio that they forgot to plug the batteries in! The Honda engine clearly provides enough torque at low speed though, with both Alonso and Button making brilliant getaways (this may also be down to driver skill however, on a weekend when drivers had to find their own clutch bite point under new rules.)
Next up is high-speed Monza—keep your eye’s on Force India (big things are predicted for them) and keep posted to ADAPT Network for more Motorsports action.
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||45.692s|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||53.997s|
|8||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||56.076s|
|13||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|14||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|15||Roberto Merhi||Marussia/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|16||Will Stevens||Marussia/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||Not started|
Featured image: screenshot from formula1.com
Via: BBC Sport, AUTOSPORT