BELGIAN GP

 

Qualifying     Grid     Race    

 

Round 7 – Spa, 28 to 30 August 2020

 

All times UK   Sorry – forgot to take off the hour from proper time to UK time!!! Race coverage starts at 1230 UK.

Day

Session

Times

Sky

Channel Four

Fri 28th 

FP1

1100 to 1230

1030 to 1250

 

 

FP2

1500 to 1630

1445 to 1645

 

Sat 29th   

FP3

1200 to 1300

1145 to 1310

 

 

Qual

1500 to 1600-ish

1400 to 1635

Recording: 1930 to 2100

Sun 30th  

Race

1510 to 1640-ish

1330 to 1800

Recording: 1930 to 2200

 

Pirelli has abandoned the individual driver tyre choices for 2020 and simply issuing three compounds of tyre for all teams to use.

 

All the drivers will get 2 sets of hard compound tyres (white), 3 sets of mediums (yellow), and 8 sets of softs (red).

 

FP1:

·      A very “FP1” session with a lot of early-lap aero-testing, then some quick runs followed by heavy fuel-load long runs to see how the tyres hold up.

·      The forecast rain came to nothing. Indeed the forecast is changing all the time and now there’s no rain for Saturday and Sunday is down to 50% or lower chance!  Shame.

·      Both Haas cars in trouble with power unit problems. I think both cars had to change engines so got noting but a single installation lap done. Giovinazzi at least got in a couple of laps before they started taking his gearbox apart with a “technical issue”.

 Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Bottas

Mercedes

1m44.493s 

2

Hamilton

Mercedes

 

3

Verstappen

Red Bull-Honda

 

4

Perez

Racing Point-Mercedes

 

5

Stroll

Racing Point-Mercedes

 

6

Albon

Red Bull-Honda

 

7

Ocon

Renault

 

8

Sainz

McLaren-Renault

 

9

Ricciardo

Renault

 

10

Norris

McLaren-Renault

 

11

Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda

 

12

Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda

1m45.503s 

13

Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

 

14

Leclerc

Ferrari

 

15

Vettel

Ferrari

 

16

Latifi

Williams-Mercedes

1m46.488s 

17

Russell

Williams-Mercedes

1m46.570s 

18

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

No time 

19

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

No time 

20

Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

No time 

 

FP2:

·      Having rather dismissed Ferrari’s poor times in FP1 as fairly insignificant knowing it’s not always wise to read too much into FP1 times, we are presented with more of the same in FP2. I have to admit the Ferraris didn’t look at all handy out there. 

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Verstappen

Red Bull-Honda

1m 43.744s

2

Ricciardo

Renault

 

3

Hamilton

Mercedes

 

4

Albon

Red Bull-Honda

 

5

Perez

Racing Point-Mercedes

 

6

Bottas

Mercedes

 

7

Norris

McLaren-Renault

 

8

Ocon

Renault

 

9

Sainz

McLaren-Renault

 

10

Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda

 

11

Stroll

Racing Point-Mercedes

1m44.678s 

12

Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda

 

13

Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

 

14

Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

 

15

Leclerc

Ferrari

 

16

Russell

Williams-Mercedes

 

17

Vettel

Ferrari

 

18

Latifi

Williams-Mercedes

1m45.774s 

19

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

20

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

1m46.242s 

 

FP3:

·      Session briefly interrupted b light rain but generally OK weather-wise during the session. There had been heavy rain overnight that washed all  yesterday’s rubber off the track so apart from the two Haas cars (who needed the running) most drivers waited to see if anyone else would go out and lay some rubber down.

·      There was a repeat of the chaos that we witnessed at the end of Q1 last year as drivers were on their last out-lap and going stupidly slowly so they weren’t at the front on the timed lap. It’s all very tactical and just a bit daft. If you want a clear lap get out earlier and the risk the track being a little slower than a few minutes later. Anyway it’s only practice so what the …..

·      Now, Ferrari…! The cars looked a handful out there again. It seems that their sector 2 times were particularly slow and that’s the sector that needs more downforce than the other two, so have the team set the cars up for higher straightline speed out of desperation, thus sacrificing too much in the bendy bits? That said, the forecast for during the race is showing more of a chance of rain so the cars would be better with more downforce – not less. Will shall see this afternoon if they will change the car’s setup.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m43.255s 

2

Ocon

Renault

 

3

Norris

McLaren-Renault

 

4

Albon

Red Bull-Honda

 

5

Bottas

Mercedes

 

6

Verstappen

Red Bull-Honda

 

7

Ricciardo

Renault

 

8

Stroll

Racing Point-Mercedes

 

9

Sainz

McLaren-Renault

 

10

Perez

Racing Point-Mercedes

1m44.180s 

11

Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda

 

12

Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda

 

13

Latifi

Williams-Mercedes

 

14

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

15

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

16

Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

 

17

Leclerc

Ferrari

 

18

Russell

Williams-Mercedes

 

19

Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

1m45.190s 

20

Vettel

Ferrari

1m45.420s 

 

Q1:

·      Cloudy but dry, making the air and track temperatures cooler enabling more power from the engines and better performance from the tyres – unless you’re in a Ferrari!!!!!

·      As we’ve seen before there was a bit of slipstreaming going on. We don’t see much of it at other circuits because this is really the only one where anything can be gained.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m42.323s 

2

Bottas

Mercedes

 

3

Verstappen

Red Bull-Honda

 

4

Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda

 

5

Stroll

Racing Point-Mercedes

6

Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda

7

Ricciardo

Renault

8

Sainz

McLaren-Renault

1m43.322s

9

Perez

Racing Point-Mercedes

10

Albon

Red Bull-Honda

11

Ocon

Renault

12

Norris

McLaren-Renault

13

Vettel

Ferrari

 

14

Russell

Williams-Mercedes

 

15

Leclerc

Ferrari

1m43.656s 

16

Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

1m43.743s 

17

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

18

Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

 

19

Latifi

Williams-Mercedes

 

20

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

1m44.314s 

 

Q2:

·      Both Ferraris out in Q2 – anyone care to guess the last time that happened?

·      Russell aborted his first lap, and Ricciardo had a brake snag so didn’t go out for a second run.

·      As the drivers start the race on the tyres they set their fastest time in this session, Hamilton, Bottas, and Verstappen went out for their second runs on Softs just in case, but when it was evident no one was going to make them set a faster lap they all slowed down before the line so they could start the race on mediums. That will make the run up the long straight interesting as the soft-tyres of their competition should be faster in the early stages!

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m42.014s 

2

Bottas

Mercedes

 

3

Albon

Red Bull-Honda

 

4

Verstappen

Red Bull-Honda

 

5

Sainz

McLaren-Renault

6

Ricciardo

Renault

7

Stroll

Racing Point-Mercedes

8

Ocon

Renault

9

Perez

Racing Point-Mercedes

10

Norris

McLaren-Renault

1m42.772s

11

Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda

1m42.730s

12

Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda

13

Leclerc

Ferrari

1m42.996s 

14

Vettel

Ferrari

 

15

Russell

Williams-Mercedes

1m43.468s 

 

Q3:

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m41.252s 

2

Bottas

Mercedes

 

3

Verstappen

Red Bull-Honda

 

4

Ricciardo

Renault

 

5

Albon

Red Bull-Honda

1m42.264s

6

Ocon

Renault

7

Sainz

McLaren-Renault

8

Perez

Racing Point-Mercedes

9

Stroll

Racing Point-Mercedes

10

Norris

McLaren-Renault

1m42.657s

 

GRID:

If there are no penalties, this is the grid…

Pos

Driver

Car

Pts

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

22

 

2

Bottas

Mercedes

20

 

3

Verstappen

Red Bull-Honda

19

 

4

Ricciardo

Renault

18

 

5

Albon

Red Bull-Honda

17

6

Ocon

Renault

16

7

Sainz

McLaren-Renault

15

8

Perez

Racing Point-Mercedes

14

9

Stroll

Racing Point-Mercedes

13

10

Norris

McLaren-Renault

12

11

Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda

10

12

Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda

9

13

Leclerc

Ferrari

8

 

14

Vettel

Ferrari

7

 

15

Russell

Williams-Mercedes

6

 

16

Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

5

 

17

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

4

 

18

Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

3

 

19

Latifi

Williams-Mercedes

2

 

20

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

1

 

 

RACE:

·      Not a race to go down in history as one of the greats – not by a long chalk, unfortunately, but one or two notes can be drawn up.

·      Poor Sainz didn’t even get to the grid. His McLaren developed a fault with the exhaust system when he came out of the pits to make his way to the grid so he had to pull back into his garage where they found the fault to be terminal and he was recorded as a non-starter. Considering how Norris ran I suspect Sainz could have had a good race.

·      The expected outcome of the run along the long Kemmel straight to Les Combes didn’t pan out and the order through there for the top six or so was as per the grid. However there was some movement down the field as Leclerc whizzed up to 9th, Magnussen up to 15th and Giovinazzi up to 14th. As the top three spread out a bit they started to leave Ricciardo behind and he wasn’t able to make inroads into Verstappen until the very end but ran out of laps. His Fastest Lap at the very end being witness to this.

·      Then on lap 10 we had some real drama when Giovinazzi lost it on the exit of a corner and tank-slapped his way into the barrier. As bits flew off his car he made his way across the track, Raikkonen managing to get by on his right as he vacated that bit of track, but Russell found himself with nowhere to go as the left side of the track was taken over by the errant Alfa. He had to take to the verge and got squeezed against the wall, pretty much wrecking his Williams. There was debris all over the place, including a flying wheel and bits of bodywork hitting his halo and helmet. Fortunately, both drivers were able to walk away. The safety car came out while they cleared up the mess.

·      As the leaders again careered off into the distance there was quite a bit of passing and re-passing going on down the field as all but two drivers had been into the pits to put the hard tyre on. All this time the Ferraris were running down the field with the also-rans. How they are going to manage over two back to back races at Monza one is at pains to imagine.  It’s a good job the public aren’t allowed in for these races or the grandstands would have been embarrassingly empty. The tifosi hate it when Ferrari are under-performing and tend to stay away in protest.

·      Apart from Perez and Gasly making late-ish pitstops and charging through the field against cars with older tyres that was pretty much it really.

Pos

Driver

Car

Laps

Pts

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

44

22

2

Bottas

Mercedes

44

20

3

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

44

19

4

Ricciardo

Renault

44

19

FL

5

Ocon

Renault

44

17

6

Albon

Red Bull-Renault

44

16

7

Norris

McLaren-Renault

44

15

8

Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda

44

14

9

Stroll

Racing Point-Mercedes

44

13

10

Perez

Racing Point-Mercedes

44

12

11

Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda

44

10

12

Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

44

9

13

Vettel

Ferrari

44

8

14

Leclerc

Ferrari

44

7

15

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

44

6

16

Latifi

Williams-Mercedes

44

5

17

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

44

4

18

Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

9

3

Accident

19

Russell

Williams-Mercedes

9

2

Accident

20

Sainz

McLaren-Renault

0

1

NS

 

                                                                       

 

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© Ian Bushnell, 2020