BELGIAN GP

 

Qualifying         Race    

 

Round 12 – Spa, 25 – 27 Aug

 

All times UK  

Day

Session

Times

Sky

Channel 4

Fri 25th

FP1

0900 to 1030

0845 to 1100

0855 to 1035

 

FP2

1300 to 1430

1245 to 1500

1255 to 1435

Sat 26th

FP3

1000 to 1100

0945 to 1115

0955 to 1125

 

Qual

1300 to 1400-ish

1200 to 1440

1155 to 1430

Sun 27th

Race

1300 to 1430-ish

1130 to 1615

1200 to 1600

 

TYRES:

 

Ultra Soft

Super Soft

Soft

Medium

Hard

Intermediate

Wet

 

Tyres

Drivers MUST keep at least one set of the softest tyre for Q3.  (This set will be returned to Pirelli after Q3 for those who qualify in the top 10.  Remaining drivers will not have used them in Q3 so will not hand anything back.)

Drivers MUST use at least two different compounds during the race.

 

 

Individual driver’s tyre choices:

 

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Soft

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Super Soft

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Ultra Soft

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4

3

6

Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

3

4

6

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

3

3

7

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

3

3

7

Lance Stroll (Williams)

1

5

7

Felipe Massa (Williams)

1

5

7

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

1

3

9

Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

1

3

9

Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

2

3

8

Jolyon Palmer (Renault)

2

3

8

Esteban Ocon (Force India)

3

4

6

Sergio Perez (Force India)

3

4

6

Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)

2

3

8

Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso)

2

3

8

Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)

1

3

9

Fernando Alonso (McLaren)

2

2

9

Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)

2

3

7

Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber)

3

3

7

Romain Grosjean (Haas)

3

4

6

Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

4

3

6

 

 

FP1:

·      After the summer break all the drivers were quick to get out on their installation laps, with three of them sporting the ‘halo’ cockpit protection system.  These were removed straight after the one lap, making me think that A) the drivers didn’t like them and wanted them off, and B) they only ran them because they’d been told to, probably by the FIA, although one wonders why?

·      After a little while a couple of cars came out and set a time, but the red flags were out because Massa caught the kerb on the right-hander at Les Combes and the car snapped into oversteer and straight on to the barrier. The car turned side on before impact so the damage was restricted to the left side and Massa was OK, although the impact g-force gauge must have been triggered because the ambulance was straight out to him to take him for a check up. The car was badly damaged and we didn’t see him again this session.

·      Tyre choices were of more interest here than normally as we saw Mercedes set their fastest laps on the soft compound, and the Ferrari at the other extreme with the ultra soft. Knowing Spa, all this will prove academic when it rains on Sunday!

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Raikkonen

Ferrari

1m45.502s 

2

Hamilton

Mercedes

 

3

Vettel

Ferrari

 

4

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

5

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Bottas

Mercedes

 

7

Sainz

Toro Rosso-Renault

 

8

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

9

Kvyat

Toro Rosso-Renault

 

10

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

11

Palmer

Renault

 

12

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

13

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 

14

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

15

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

16

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

17

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

18

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

 

19

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

1m51.263s 

20

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

No time 

 

FP2:

·      Massa’s chassis was too badly damaged to repair so had to be replaced. Unfortunately, a new chassis has to be subject to scrutineering regulations and so he wasn’t able to use it in this session. It should be OK for FP3.

·      All was going well until the rain arrived, lightly at first, with ½ hour to go, but it got heavier and by ¼ hour to go that was that. Ricciardo and Alonso both went out on intermediate tyres when full wets were required so that achieved nothing.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m44.753s 

2

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

3

Bottas

Mercedes

 

4

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

5

Vettel

Ferrari

 

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

8

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

9

Sainz

Toro Rosso-Renault

 

10

Palmer

Renault

 

11

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 

12

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

13

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

14

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

15

Kvyat

Toro Rosso-Renault

 

16

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

17

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

18

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

 

19

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

1m49.214s 

20

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

No time 

 

FP3:

·      Fairly standard session, despite starting on intermediates as the track was damp in places, but only used them for the installation lap and then they changed to slicks.

·      Kvyat had an engine failure, probably linked to a misfire he had early on.

·      Massa failed to slow down through a yellow flag zone so is being “investigated”. It could affect his grid position. Beginning to look like a weekend over which he wished he’d stayed at home!!

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Raikkonen

Ferrari

1m43.916s 

2

Vettel

Ferrari

 

3

Hamilton

Mercedes

 

4

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

5

Bottas

Mercedes

 

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Palmer

Renault

 

8

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

9

Sainz

Toro Rosso-Renault

 

10

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 

11

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

12

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

13

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

14

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

15

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

16

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

17

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

18

Kvyat

Toro Rosso-Renault

 

19

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

 

20

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

1m48.300s 

 

 Q1:

Top spot between Hamilton and Vettel only – nobody else close!

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m44.184s 

2

Vettel

Ferrari

 

3

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

5

Bottas

Mercedes

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

7

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

8

Hulkenberg

Renault

9

Sainz

Toro Rosso-Renault

10

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

11

Palmer

Renault

12

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

13

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

14

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

15

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

1m45.728s 

16

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

1m45.823s 

17

Kvyat

Toro Rosso-Renault

 

18

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

19

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

20

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

1m47.679s

 

Q2:

·      Hamilton really on form here, setting the fastest recorded time around this track.  (It’s not an official lap record as they can only be set during a race.)

·      Honda changed practically everything in Vandoorne’s car so he was beset with thousands of grid place penalties so whatever happens he’ll be at the back, so McLaren sent both cars out together so he could Alonso a tow. Despite that the there still wasn’t enough power in the Honda to get Fernando into Q3. By his demeanour when he got back to his garage I suspect Honda will experience the rough end of his tongue during de-briefing!!  Vandoorne, in the meantime just drove back to the pits for a cup of tea!

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m42.927s 

2

Bottas

Mercedes

 

3

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

4

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

5

Vettel

Ferrari

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

7

Palmer

Renault

8

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

9

Hulkenberg

Renault

10

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

1m45.006s

11

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

1m45.090s

12

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

13

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

14

Sainz

Toro Rosso-Renault

1m45.374s

15

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

No time 

 

Q3:

·      Hamilton: I think the word is commanding. Thrashed the track record again and you could see the aggression as the car attacked the corners. I’m not a great Hamilton lover, as you know, but even I though it was a pretty good performance.

·      Palmer stopped on his out lap with low gearbox oil pressure. A great shame as he was doing very well and set for 8th maybe even 7th on the grid.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m42.553s 

2

Vettel

Ferrari

 

3

Bottas

Mercedes

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

7

Hulkenberg

Renault

8

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

9

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

1m45.006s

10

Palmer

Renault

No time

 

GRID:

·      Penalties galore here with Vandoorne setting some sort of record with 60-odd places – ludicrous.

·      Kvyat with 20 for an overnight power unit change.

·      Ericsson and Wehrlein both had new gearboxes.

·      Massa for ignoring the yellows in FP3.

·      Palmer picked up a penalty after his gearbox change.

Pos

Driver

Car

Pts

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

20

 

2

Vettel

Ferrari

19

 

3

Bottas

Mercedes

18

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

17

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

16

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

15

7

Hulkenberg

Renault

14

8

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

13

9

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

12

10

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

11

11

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

10

12

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

9

13

Sainz

Toro Rosso-Renault

8

14

Palmer

Renault

7

Penalty

15

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

6

 

16

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

5

Penalty

17

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

4

Penalty

18

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

3

Penalty

19

Kvyat

Toro Rosso-Renault

2

Penalty

20

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

1

Penalty

 

RACE:

·      Wehrlein was the first to go with something broken in the rear suspension.

·      Verstappen was doing OK when one of the cylinders failed to function correctly and the engine conked out.  I wonder how Red Bull are going to convince him to stay with them next year?

·      Alonso retired saying it was an engine problem but nobody at Honda would, or could say what it was!

·      Perez was called into the pits to retire – I don’t know why.

·      The Force India guys collided twice during the race, getting away with it the first time, but the second time, going down the hill to Eau Rouge, Ocon lost the left part of his front wing against Perez’ rear right tyre, which promptly punctured, and disintegrated as he sped back to the pits, leaving debris all over the place.  Race control brought the safety car out to control the cars through the clear up areas, and it helped to close the field up for a more exciting last 15 or so laps. Ocon had a new front and Perez got a new set of tyres and that was that.  No penalty from the Stewards but the team hierarchy will have quite a bit to say!

·      When the safety car came in and racing resumed Vettel made the mistake of being too close to Hamilton on the run through Eau Rouge and up to Raidillon so didn’t get a proper run at passing him at the end of the long straight. During the run to the end of the race the gap between them kept closing and opening almost from lap to lap, but Hamilton seemed tp be in control.

·      Ricciardo made a masterful move to get into third.  At the restart he was running 5th behind Bottas and Raikkonen. Raikkonen got past Bottas and then as they continued to battle into the braking zone for Les Combes he sneaked through between them and stole 3rd place.

Pos

Driver

Car

Laps

Pts

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

44

20

 

2

Vettel

Ferrari

44

19

 

3

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

44

18

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

44

17

 

5

Bottas

Mercedes

44

16

 

6

Hulkenberg

Renault

44

15

 

7

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

44

14

 

8

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

44

13

 

9

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

44

12

 

10

Sainz

Toro Rosso-Renault

44

11

 

11

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

44

10

 

12

Kvyat

Toro Rosso-Renault

44

9

 

13

Palmer

Renault

44

8

 

14

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

44

7

 

15

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

44

6

 

16

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

44

5

 

17

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

42

4

Retired

18

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

25

3

Engine??

19

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

7

2

Engine

20

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

2

1

Rear Suspension

 

 

 

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© Ian Bushnell, 2017