While Lewis Hamilton made it look all too easy en route to his 39th Formula 1 career win and a further extension of his Drivers’ Championship title lead with victory in Belgium, there were plenty of other standout performances in an exciting race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Our own Chandni Patel picks her winners and losers from Sunday’s 43-lap race…
The top prize went to Lewis Hamilton who was the winner of the Belgian Grand Prix. He drove a strong race with the true speed of his Mercedes F1W06 car. He now has a 28-point lead over his nearest championship rival and fellow Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.
Daniil Kvyat was another winner this weekend who started the race P12 and finished P4! He drove his way up the field with several overtakes as his teammate Daniel Ricciardo unfortunately wasn’t able to finish the race with a sudden loss of power.
Romain Grosjean drove a storming race, charging up the field with raw pace. Although he qualified fourth-fastest, he was hit with a five-place grid penalty, but overcame that with a succession of great overtakes. A good handful of points for the Constructors’ Championship standings was a great boost at a time where the team really needs it.
The Force India was thought to be a dark horse for this race and at a track that has suited them well in the past. Sergio Pérez not only qualified well here in fifth place, but made an incredible start to move up to P2. He didn’t quite have the pace to challenge for the podium, but he drove to the maximum and brought the car home in fifth place.
Poor Nico Hülkenberg! Coming into the weekend widely tipped as a possible podium finisher, it started to go wrong in qualifying and then fell apart afterwards. A mistake on Saturday meant he failed to make the Q3 cut, and then he suffered a loss of power on the formation lap. After being instructed to take to the starting grid, his car failed to get off the line. His race was over before it even began.
An inspired and risky one-stop strategy should have put Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the podium, but the gamble perhaps proved to be too much when his well-used right-rear tyre failed on the penultimate lap.
The Williams’ lack of pace and a costly pit lane blunder conspired to ruin Valtteri Bottas’ race. After qualifying a season’s best third-fastest on Saturday, he suffered a major blow when his mechanics fitted mismatched tyre compounds during his first pit stop. Williams failed to immediately pit him to rectify the problem and so he was issued with a drive-through penalty, contributing to a further loss of time and track position. A ninth-placed finish hardly reflected his potential, and teammate Felipe Massa tumbled out of the points in the closing laps as well. Not a good weekend…
Daniel Ricciardo was also very unlucky, running very well in the top-five through the Grand Prix and showing speed good enough to potentially get him on the podium. A sudden hydraulic problem, however, put those plans on ice and caused him to stop on track. It was a huge shame for the Australian, who fell behind teammate Daniil Kvyat in the Drivers’ Championship standings as a result of his DNF. The Red Bull team are rumoured to break their partnership with their engine supplier Renault.
Images via Sutton Motorsport Images and XPB Images