Site logo

Verstappen heads Red Bull 1-2 at Spa


Naturally we're biased, but we truly believe that British humour is among the best in the world.

Recently, in reaction to the numerous scare stories in the media regarding climate change, after the Meteorological Office claimed that a recent day had been the hottest in 120,000 years, some wag responded asking if they could tell him what the weather was like on 7 April 85,215 BC.

Another wag pointed out how remarkable it is that the Meteorological Office can tell us what the weather was like 120,000 years ago but cannot, with any degree of accuracy, say what it's going to be like tomorrow.

This comes to mind as we head into today's Grand Prix, for as we have seen over the last 48 hours anything can and will happen.

The teams head into the race with plenty of information about the rain tyres, but are pretty much in the dark when it comes to the dry weather versions.

In the case of mixed conditions, the crossover time from dry tyres to intermediates is estimated to be between 1.54/1.55.00, while from the Inters to the wets is between 2.04/2.05.00 (based on a low fuel load).

If it doesn't rain they will all have to base their strategy simulations on data gathered from past races and on how the available compounds have behaved in the first part of this season.

According to Pirelli there is not much difference between a one stop and a two stop, and, without much information, this becomes an even finer line, so there is a bigger chance of some surprises.

While Stroll managed a couple of laps on mediums before coming to grief all slick running so far this weekend has been on the softs, so the teams have no experience of the hards or the yellow-banded rubber, all of which adds to the conundrum.

The surprises aren't restricted to tyres however, for the ever changing conditions have left teams struggling in terms of set-up, and as a result a dry race could prove beneficial for some drivers this afternoon and a disaster for others, especially as some teams have gone in different directions for their two drivers.

This will be a particular worry for McLaren which has gone for a high downforce set-up which will leave both drivers susceptible.

Despite claiming pole by 0.820s, Verstappen starts from sixth on the grid after Red Bull elected to change his gearbox, which means that Leclerc inherits pole with Perez joining him on the front row.

Consequently, the pressure is very much on the Mexican who will be expected not only to grab the lead at the start but do his best to back up the field in favour of his teammate.

Of course, Leclerc is unlikely to want to play along, likewise Hamilton, Sainz and the McLaren pair.

Then again, here more than at any other track, except perhaps Monaco, the first corner is notorious, hence we remind all of the old adage about the fact that the race cannot be won at the first corner but can be lost.

Dry or wet we can expect an interesting race with plenty of overtaking, even if much of this is down to DRS these days.

An hour before the race, though bright there are some dark clouds in the distance and almost every app shows rain at some point this afternoon... incidentally, we understand that it rained here on 30 July 85,215 BC.

The pitlane opens and the drivers begin to head out. "Russell advises that his front brakes do not appear to be biting.

"There is quite a bit of smoke," says Hulkenberg, who will start from the pitlane, "and power is not delivering, there's an issue." The German is subsequently pushed into his garage.

"I'm trying to get this dash to work," says Albon, who cannot see his tyre temps.

Ahead of the formation lap the air temperature is 18 degrees C, while the track temperature is 28 degrees. Risk of rain is 40%.

All are starting on softs bar Piastri, Norris, Russell, Alonso, Stroll, Tsunoda and Hulkenberg who are all on mediums. Understandably it is fresh rubber all round.

They head off on the formation lap, all getting away without any issues.

The grid forms.

They're away! As Leclerc pulls away Perez moves to the right to cover off Hamilton who in turn moves to his left causing Sainz to lock-up.

Leclerc leads around La Source with Perez right behind while Piastri, Sainz and Hamilton are three-abreast with the McLaren on the inside.

Piastri appears to touch the inside wall while exiting the corner he and Sainz clearly clash but are able to continue.

That said, as they head down the hill towards Eau Rouge the Australian is struggling and loses positions to Sainz, Verstappen and Norris.

Indeed he clearly has a problem and almost grinds to a halt heading into Eau Rouge almost collecting an Alpine in the process.

"I don't know what he was doing," says Piastri, "I was there and he just turn in like I didn't exist."

Perez takes the lead up the hill while Verstappen is up to fourth. "I've got damage," reports Piastri. Sainz gives a similar message.

At the end of Lap 1, it's: Perez, Leclerc, Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz, Alonso, Norris, Tsunoda, Stroll and Albon.

Though his team can see the damage, Sainz is told to continue as Albon passes Stroll for ninth.

Piastri has stopped on track just before Turn 14.

"Tell me about the damage," asks Sainz. "About 5% aero," he is told.

Alonso smells blood and is all over the rear of the Spaniard's Ferrari as Verstappen ramps up the pressure on Hamilton.

Alonso passes Sainz at Le Combes for fifth, as Perez builds a 2.1s lead.

Hulkenberg is up to 17th, ahead of his Haas teammate.

Under braking for the final chicane, Stroll passes Norris for 9th.

Sainz' day goes from bad to worse as he is passed by Tsunoda for 6th.

"You are doing great with the car," Sainz is assured.

"Ferrari has been off at Turn 9 every lap," reports Hamilton of Leclerc.

Norris, Magnussen and Ricciardo all pit at the end of Lap 5, as Verstappen passes Hamilton at Les Combes.

A train is now building behind Sainz, it includes Russell, Ocon, Sargeant, Bottas, Gasly, Zhou and Hulkenberg.

Ocon and Bottas pit at the end of Lap 6, as Verstappen closes on Leclerc.

"Massive vibration," reports Zhou.

A new fastest lap (52.130) sees Verstappen get within DRS range of Leclerc.

Albon and Sainz both pit at the end of Lap 7, as does Zhou, while Magnussen posts a new fastest lap (51.534).

Sainz rejoins in 18th.

"Potential rain on the radar, twenty minutes away," Hamilton is told, "not very strong though."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spa here.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


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



1. Posted by Celtic Tiger, 30/07/2023 19:49

"Another trophy bites the dust for Verstappen and after that save out of eau rouge, maybe busting the trophy is going to be a new good luck ritual."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

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