Site logo

Hamilton cruises to Spa victory

NEWS STORY
23/08/2015

Not for the first time, as we look ahead to the race, the result appears a foregone conclusion, the Mercedes duo leaving the rest for dust and heading off into the distance.

However, at Silverstone, and again Hungary, we saw the German team suffer, first at the hands of Williams, then at the hands of Ferrari.

While the German team is playing down the possibility of this becoming a recurring problem that could derail its title efforts, the situation is further complicated by the new rules today which mean that the drivers get no 'outside help' at the start.

OK, this is a new rule that will affect everyone, but not ll teams have had the nightmare starts of the Mercedes duo in recent races.

An added worry is Nico Rosberg's tyre failure on Friday, for whilst Pirelli has comprehensively ruled out any fault in the construction of the tyre, the big question is how did it happen? Let's face it, ever since the incident the German's pace hasn't been quite the same.

Though MIA for much of the weekend, Williams ramped things up in qualifying, Valtteri Bottas taking a strong third place, his best qualifying result of the year. With teammate Felipe Massa starting sixth, this could be another strong race for the Grove outfit in the wake of the disappointment of Silverstone and Hungary.

Sergio Perez starts from fourth in the rejuvenated Force India, though teammate Nico Hulkenberg starts a lowly eleventh. The B-spec VJM08 has looked strong all weekend and a strong result would allow the team to edge ahead of Lotus and Toro Rosso in the fight for fifth.

As the messy divorce saga continues, fresh from a strong result in Hungary, things were looking good for Red Bull this weekend. However, whilst Daniel Ricciardo starts from fifth, teammate Daniil Kvyat failed to make it out of Q2.

Like Red Bull, Lotus is having more than its fair share of problems, consequently the last thing the Enstone outfit needed was a gearbox penalty that saw Romain Grosjean lose out on his glorious Q3 effort. Nonetheless, with both cars starting in the top ten, the team should take something away from here... even if Charles Pic's lawyers are working hard to see they don't.

Celebrating its 900th Grand Prix, there was little to savour for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel qualifying ninth following a mistake and Kimi Raikkonen failing to post a time in Q2 after a technical failure. To compound the team's misery, a subsequent gearbox change demote the Finn to the back of the grid - well, around 25 rows ahead of the McLarens.

Next up come the Toro Rosso and Saubers, Max Verstappen handed a ten-place grid penalty following an engine change.

Finally, way, way behind the Manor duo, are the McLarens, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button having been handed a grid drop of 105 place between them. There is no more to add.

Other than the new start rules, things could be further spiced up by the weather. We know from experience that conditions can, and usually do, change quite quickly, and at different parts of the track.

Heavy rain indeed thunderstorms, are expected later in the day, but currently it is thought that they'll hit the region after the race. However, as we said, experience suggests we should be prepared for anything.

Finally, there is the unique characteristic of the circuit, the run from the grid to T1 (La Source) one of the shortest on the calendar. Even the smallest mistake can result in carnage as the field funnels into that first hairpin, witness Grosjean's theatrics a couple of years back, not to mention the infamous pile-up of 1998.

The fastest strategy is theoretically a two-stopper - start on softs, softs again on lap 15, mediums on lap 30. However, some drivers might try a three-stop S/S/S/M sprint strategy to limit tyre degradation and gain track position - but this depends on individual patterns of tyre usage and traffic.

There are two DRS zones, one on the short pit straight and the second on the Kemmel Straight, the long uphill run from Eau Rouge.

The pitlane opens and there's already an issue for Hulkenberg who reports a loss of power on his installation lap. He is told to return to the pits. He obliges and is soon back on track. "There's no power at all," he says, "I'm flat out and nothing's happening".

Button admits that he's disappointed that it is unlikely to rain during the race. Asked about starting from the back row, he quips; "at last nobody can hit me from behind".

Rob Smedley, on the other hand, says there could be rain at the end of the race after the final stops.

The drivers gather for the national anthem, bringing back memories of that haunting scene weeks ago in Hungary.

As the field - of which Hulkenberg is now a part - prepares to head off on the warm-up lap, the air temperature is 24 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 38 degrees. It is noticeably windier than normal.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2020. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms